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IX CAi' AMI ni-.l.l.S. A \I.A('H M A.S( )l ' I.RA I il-.R A'l' VKKKIA 



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y BY 

At J? Bif y^AGE, M.A. 









First Published in igi4 


IN writing Vlach phonetically we have used as simple an 
alphabet as possible and endeavoured to avoid the use of 
diacritical marks. The symbols used are to be pronounced 
as follows : — 

a, e, i and u as in German, 

as a closed o as in the French cote, 

oa as an open sound as in the French bois, 

ea to resemble the Italian ia in words such as pianta, 

ai as in the English i as in mice, 

ei as the English ay in play, 

ao and au as the German au, 

t and u as whispered sounds, the latter like a half uttered 

English w, 
a like the English er in better, while ^ is a vowel sound 

peculiar to Roumanian and its dialects which cannot 

be described, 
p and b as in English, 
t and d as in Enghsh, 
g as the hard English g as in gape, k as the hard English c in 

care, y as in yacht, gh (the Greek 7) like the g in North 

German words such as Tage, h like the Scottish ch in loch, 
m and n as in English and ri as the English n in finger, 

1 as in English and ;' as in Scottish, 

/ and V as in English, th (the Greek 6) as the th in thorough, 

dh (the Greek I) as th in then, 
s and z as in English, sh as in English and zh as the z in 

azure, tsh like the English ch in church, and dzh like the 

English j. 


g' as in ague or in argument, k' as in Kcw or the c in cue, 
h' as in hew or huge, n' like the Italian gn and I' like the 
Italian gl. 

Although the name Sdmdrina is in Vlach pronounced as the 
spelling indicates we have written throughout Samarina, and 
this, if spoken so as to rhyme with semolina, is sufficiently 
accurate for practical purposes. 

As regards Modern Greek we have attempted to trans- 
literate the language phonetically, but in the case of well- 
known names and places we have retained the conventional 

We have to thank Professor E. G. Browne, Dr. Braunholtz, 
Mr. E. H. Minns and Mr. E. C, Quiggin for help and advice on 
many linguistic questions. 

Of the literature on the Vlachs we have consulted all that 
was accessible to us. The notes at the end are intended to 
indicate only the chief sources where further information can 
be obtained. 

Sifurim shi eu ka tine vream si mi duk Sdmdrina. 

A. J. B. W. 

M. S. T. 


August isth, 19 1 3 




I. Mainly Introductory 
II. From Tirnavos to Samarina 

III. Life at Samarina .... 

IV. The Costumes of Samarina 

V. Government and Trade, Churches and Houses 

VI. Birth, Baptism, Betrothal, Marriage and 
Burial Customs 

VII. Festivals and Folklore . 

VIII. The History of Samarina 

IX. The Vlach Villages near Samarina 

X. The Distribution of the Vlachs 

XI. The Vlach Language 





XII. The History and Origin of the Balkan Vlachs 256 

Appendices — 

I. The Greek Texts of the Inscriptions in the 

Churches at Samarina . . . 275 

II. Betrothal, Wedding and other Festival Songs . 277 

III. The Greek Klephtic Songs used to illustrate 

the History of Samarina . . . 281 

IV. Select Texts to illustrate the Vlach Language 285 

Notes and Bibliography ..... 297 

Vocabulary ...... 305 

Index ....... 325 



I N Cap and Bells : A Vlach Masquerader at Verri a Frontispiece 


Vlach Families on the Road . . . .12 

Vlach Muleteers . . . . . .12 

Vlach Families Encamping . . . . .16 

A Vlach Camp at Midday . . . . .16 

Ghrevena : Corner Towers of the House of Mehmed Agha 

ON THE Left . . . . . .26 

Samarina : The Dance at the Festival of the Assumption 26 

Samarina from the East . . . . • 3^ 

Samarina : The Market- Place . . . .42 

Samarina : Men's Costumes . . . . .60 

Samarina : Men's Costumes . . . . .62 

Samarina : Women's Costumes . . . .64 

Samarina : Women in SarkA, Duluma, Palto, and SarkA . 68 

Watchman in Brigand Costume with his Pet Lamb . 78 

Boy in Andri and MalliotC . . . . -7^ 

Samarina : Milking Time at a Sheepfold . . • 7^ 

Samarina : Women working Wool . . . .80 

Samarina : A Beetling Mill . . . .84 

Samarina : A Saw Mill . . . • .84 

Samarina : Great St. Mary's . . . .86 

Samarina : The Monastery from the South . . 94 

i ix 



Samarina : Group of Houses, showing Oven, Gardens, and 

K'ipeng'i . . . . . .94 

Samarina : The House of Pagatsa .... 108 

Samarina : Taking the Bride on Horseback from her 

Home ..... . . 108 

Samarina : Bride and Bridegroom dancing outside the 

Bridegroom's House ..... 120 

Samarina : Wedding Ceremonies . . . .124 

Samarina : Priest and his Family at a Festival . .128 

Samarina : St. John's Day, Arumana at the Conduit of 

Papazisi . . . . . -134 

Elassona : Vlach Quarter on the Left, with the Monas- 
tery ON THE Hill above . . . •134 

Elassona : Vlach and Greek Masqueraders at Epiphany 140 

Map of Northern Pindus and the Territory of Samarina . 160 

Baieasa : Bridge over the Aous .... 198 

Verria : The Ghetto .... 
Sketch Map of the Southern Balkans 
Verria : Vlachs from Samarina and Avdhela 
Neveska from the South-East 





Vinira di t alte lokuri 

Tra z veada anoastre tropuri. 

They came from other places to see our customs. 

Vlach Song 

OF the various races that inhabit the Balkan peninsula 
the Vlachs are in many ways one of the least known. 
Though at one time of sufficient importance to give 
their name to the greater part of Northern Greece, during the 
last few centuries their existence as a separate people has 
almost been forgotten. At the present day they are to be 
found widely scattered over the more mountainous and 
remote parts of the peninsula from Acarnania in the south 
to as far north as the mountains of Bulgaria and Servia. 
Their settlements are all small, there is no such thing as an 
exclusively Vlach town and nowhere do they occupy any large 
continuous tract of country. One of their chief districts in 
the south is along the wooded slopes of Northern Pindus 
between Epirus and Southwestern Macedonia. The higher 
of the villages on Pindus are under snow each winter and each 
year as soon as summer ends most of the inhabitants move 
down to the plains with their flocks and herds, taking with 
them whatever is needed to carry on their trade. Thus for 
the six winter months there is a large Vlach population living 
in the plains of Thessaly and Macedonia ; Velestinos for the 
time being becomes almost a Vlach town, and numerous Vlach 
families take up their abode in Trikkala, Larissa, Elassona 


and the other towns and villages near by. The villages in 
the hills however are always regarded by the Vlachs as being 
their real home ; they are essentially a mountain people and 
as soon as they begin to settle permanently in the plains, as 
many have done in the past, far away from their native hills 
and woods and streams they lose their national characteristics 
and rapidly become merged into the surrounding races. Their 
language both in its vocabulary and structure is clearly de- 
scended from Latin — so much so that a Latin grammar solves 
many of the difficulties — and is closely allied to Roumanian, 
of which it is in fact a dialect. But like all the Balkan lan- 
guages in their common spoken forms Vlach contains a large 
number of foreign words and phrases, borrowed from Greek, 
Slavonic, Turkish and Albanian, the proportion from each 
varying in the different districts. The earliest record of 
spoken Vlach goes back to the sixth century a.d., but it seems 
not to have been written till the eighteenth century when a 
Greek script was employed. Since the beginning of the 
national movement about the middle of last century the 
Roumanian alphabet has been adopted. 

Excepting some of the women in certain of the more remote 
villages all the Vlachs of both sexes know in addition to their 
native language at least one other tongue, either Greek, 
Bulgarian, Albanian or Serb. In the case of the women how- 
ever this is largely a modern development for only fifty years 
ago in an accessible village like Metsovo few knew any other 
language but Vlach ; the men on the other hand owing to the 
necessities of trade have almost certainly been bihngual for 
many generations. The Vlachs call themselves ' Romans,' or 
in their own dialect Arumani, which is really the same word, 
just as the Greeks still commonly call themselves ' Romei' 
and their language ' Romeika.' By the Bulgarians, Serbs 
and Albanians the Vlachs are known as Tsintsars which is a 
nickname derived from the numerous hissing sounds in Vlach 
suggestive of mosquitoes. Thus the Roumanian cinci (five) 
is in Vlach tsintsi. 

By the Greeks the Vlachs are known as Vlakhi or more 
accurately as Kutsovlakhi. The name Vlach which is a short- 


ened form of Wallach occurs in many languages and is perhaps 
in origin connected with the name Welsh. In Greek it is now 
and has been for some time past often applied to all wandering 
shepherds without denoting any particular race, so that its 
meaning is not always clear. We have nevertheless used it 
throughout, but always with a racial meaning as it is the most 
familiar name in Western Europe. The origin of the name 
Kutsovlach, which invariably has a racial significance, has been 
disputed. According to one theory the first part of the word 
comes from the Turkish kuchuk little, and in this case the 
Kutsovlachs would be the little Vlachs of the Balkans as 
opposed to their more numerous kinsmen north of the Danube. 
A second theory which finds more favour with philologists 
derives it from the Greek Kouraog a word originally meaning 
' lame ' or ' halting ' which occurs in many compounds often 
with a depreciatory sense. Thus zovrao'Trurdru ' a poor sort of 
potato ' we have heard applied to the bulb of the Cyclamen ; 
and ;iour(ro5ao';ta7,o? similarly means ' anignorant schoolmaster,' 
In other cases the original meaning of ' lame ' is more clearly 
preserved ; February for example is called zovraog or ' halting 
February.' On this theory the Kutsovlachs would be the halt- 
ing or lame Vlachs again in contrast with those further north ; 
the allusion being to the same peculiarity of speech that has 
won them the name of Tsintsar among the Slavs. 

The position of the Vlach villages high up in the hills of 
Macedonia, in districts rarely visited, the departure of the 
Vlachs from the plains in early spring before the time when 
travelling is most common, their use of a second language in 
all intercourse with the outer world and lastly the double 
meaning of the name Vlach in Modern Greek have all helped 
to restrict and confuse outside Imowledge of their life and 

Our own acquaintance with the Vlachs began quite by 
chance. In the winter of 1909-10 we were travelling in 
Southern Thessaly in the district between Almiros and Mt. 
Othrys in search of inscriptions and other antiquities. In 
Almiros itself and in one or two of the villages to the west are a 


number of Farsherots or Albanian Vlachs who formerly came 
from Pleasa. We happened to employ one of these as muleteer 
and from him began to learn a few words of Vlach. Though 
a resident in Thessaly our informant possessed a detailed 
knowledge of the Macedonian hills, as he had more than once 
been employed in Greek bands and failing these had made 
expeditions of his own. A few weeks later while looking for 
inscriptions in the plain of Elassona we spent the night at 
Vlakhoyianni a winter village of the Pindus Vlachs and there 
heard more details of Samarina and the other villages on 
Pindus. The tales told proved of interest, so that a few days 
later we employed another Vlach muleteer, this time a native 
of Samarina, and plied him with various questions as to Vlach 
life in general. He told us of mountains covered with grass 
and pasture for large flocks of sheep, of forests of oak and 
beech and pine and of innumerable mountain streams that 
never failed in summer and were almost too cold to drink. 
How every one at Samarina ate meat every day and wine was 
brought up from Shatishta three days' journey with mules. 
We had spent the previous July excavating in the Thessalian 
plains amid heat, mosquitoes and dust, so these tales of woods 
and streams proved all the more enticing. There were other 
attractions also of a less material kind, a church with a mira- 
culous pine tree growing on the roof (Plate XIV i) ; a festival 
(Plate IV 2) at which all the marriages for the year were cele- 
brated, and all wore their best clothes (Plate XIX) and danced 
for five consecutive days. Further God Almighty, when he 
made the world, dropped one of his four sacks of lies at 
Samarina. These either — the excuses vary — ran down hill 
to other parts of the globe or else being merely masculine 
became extinct. The attractions proved too strong and we 
determined to visit the Pindus villages the following summer. 
The obvious course was to travel up with the Vlach families 
who leave for the hills each year about the same day. We 
found the muleteer and his family willing to have an addition 
to their party ; and so agreed to meet at Tirnavos in time to 
start with them. Our first visit to Samarina and the villages 
on Pindus in 1910 has led to others since and we have also seen 


many of the Vlach communities elsewhere. Thus in 191 1 on 
our way from Salonica to Samarina we went to the villages 
around Verria and also to Neveska and Klisura ; in the follow- 
ing year we visited Monastir and the Vlach communities 
between it and Resna, Okhridha, jMuskopol'e and Kortsha. 
Apart from these and similar journeys made mainly to study 
the distribution and customs of the Vlachs while travelling 
in the Balkan peninsula for archceological reasons we have en- 
deavoured to see as much as possible of Vlach life and there 
are few towns in Southern Macedonia where we have not 
some Vlach acquaintances. Outside Macedonia and Thessaly 
there are still several gaps in our knowledge ; of the Vlach 
villages in Acarnania we have visited only one ; Albania north 
of Konitsa and west of Muskopol'e is unknown to us, and the 
Farsherots or Albanian Vlachs we have met have been mostly 
those settled in Macedonia and Greece. When in Bulgaria 
we were fortunate in having introductions to the Vlach colony 
at Sofia, which is of Macedonian origin, but of the other Vlach 
communities in Bulgaria we have no personal knowledge. 
Lastly in Macedonia itself we have never been to the Meglen 
though we have met several natives of that district in other 
parts of the country. This book therefore can have no claim 
to be a complete account of all the Vlach settlements ; its 
aim is rather to give a detailed description of Samarina and 
the adjacent villages on Pindus together with some account 
of the Balkan Vlachs as a whole. 

The recent history of the Vlachs has been complicated 
by political troubles, which cannot quite be ignored though 
it seems needless to discuss them in detail. We have therefore 
noted only the main effects on certain of the \dllages, and 
give here a brief account of the circumstances under which 
the dispute arose. 

At the time when the whole peninsula was under Turkish 
rule in accordance with Turkish custom religion alone was 
recognized as the basis of nationality, so that the Greek 
Patriarch at Constantinople was the head and representative 
of all the orthodox Christians before the Sublime Porte. 
In 1821 came the revolt in the south which ended in the 


establishment of an independent Hellenic kingdom. The 
revolt however was far from being coextensive with the 
Greek race, and also was not exclusively Greek for the other 
Christians in the south Albanians and Vlachs too helped 
and became part of the newly liberated population. Thus 
there is in Greece to-day a considerable number of Albanians 
who have been from the first loyal Hellenic subjects. The 
Christians left outside Greece and still under Turkish rule 
naturally looked towards the new kingdom, and many moved 
southwards to come under Greek rule. Among these were 
numbers of Vlachs who previously partly hellenized soon 
became in every way Hellenic. This tendency towards 
Hellenism was all the greater because Greek was then not 
only the sole language of the church, but almost the only 
native language in the peninsula that was commonly written. 
The value of Greek at that time or slightly earlier can perhaps 
best be seen from a Greek reading book written by a Vlach 
priest of Muskopol'e in 1802. It begins with a preface in 
verse, the first lines of which without maligning the original 
may be rendered thus : — 

Albanians, Bulgars, Vlachs and all who now do speak 
An alien tongue rejoice, prepare to make you Greek, 
Change your barbaric tongue, your customs rude forgo, 
So that as byegone myths your children may them know. 

Then follow a tetragloss exercise in Greek, Vlach, Albanian 
and Bulgarian, all in Greek script ; a dissertation on the value 
of learning in general and on the special advantages of the 
book in question ; instruction in the elements of Christian 
knowledge and natural physics ; a complete letter writer 
with model examples of letters to dignitaries of the church, 
parents, relations, friends, schoolmasters, rich Beys and 
great Pashas ; lessons in the four rules of arithmetic ; and at 
the end is a calendar showing the chief feasts of the Orthodox 
Church. By about the middle of the nineteenth century or 
somewhat later the other subject Christian races followed 
the example of Greece. Servia, Bulgaria and Roumania 
became independent states and their nationals left under 


Turkish rule demanded or had demanded for them by others 
churches and schools of their own. It hardly perhaps need 
be said that one and all of these movements were most 
disconcerting for the Greeks and in particular for the Greek 
Patriarchate which ever since 1767, when it suppressed the 
Bulgarian Patriarchate at Okhridha in Macedonia, has fought 
tooth and nail against all attempts at religious or educational 
freedom. Among the Vlachs the national movement began 
in the Pindus villages about 1867 ; it was originated by 
natives of Macedonia, but help was soon procured from 
Bucharest which became the centre of the movement. 
Roumanian elementary schools were founded in several of 
the Vlach villages and afterwards higher grade schools were 
started in Yannina, Salonica, and Monastir. Eventually in 
1905 the Vlachs were recognized by the Turks as forming 
a separate ' millet ' or nationality. This however brought 
no real unity as the Vlach villages are widely scattered and 
many from their position alone are too closely connected 
with Greece to wish to take a course of their own. The 
movement however in the first instance was of an educational 
kind, and the purely political aspect it has at times assumed 
has been produced almost entirely by the opposition with 
which it was met. 

Greek opposition at first was confined to exerting pressure 
by means of the church, but in 1881 when Thessaly and 
a considerable Vlach population came under Greek rule 
Roumanian education had to retire northwards and the 
situation became more acute. The theory had by that time 
been devised in Greece that the Vlachs were Vlachophone 
Hellenes, that is to say racially Greeks who had learnt Vlach. 
The arguments then and since brought against the Roumanian 
schools were curiously inept ; it was urged that they taught 
a foreign language, and were financed and staffed by 
Roumanians and not Vlachs. As far as language is concerned 
Roumanian has a close connection with Vlach while Greek 
has none, and in the lower forms of the Roumanian schools 
the Vlach dialect is used to some extent. Both schools 
equally in most of the Vlach villages were financed from 


outside and in recent years at least most if not all the school- 
masters employed in the Roumanian schools have been Vlachs 
and not Roumanians. It is interesting to note that the 
perfectly valid argument that the Vlachs had rapidly been 
becoming hellenized was not used at all. 

In 1903 the Bulgarians in Macedonia revolted against 
the Turks ; the fighting was fiercest between Klisura and 
Krushevo, districts now allotted to Greece and Servia, and 
the revolt was only suppressed with lire and sword and 
wholesale brutality. One result of this rising was to show 
the Greeks how much Hellenism had declined and Bulgarian 
propaganda increased since the beginning of the Bulgarian 
church and schools some thirty years before. Consequently 
with the approval of the church a committee was formed in 
Athens to hire bands to send into Macedonia to enforce the 
claims of Hellenism and destroy Bulgarian schools and 
churches. These bands were largely composed of Cretans 
and often led by regular officers, but any ex-brigand was 
sure of a ready welcome. Similar bands meanwhile had 
been dispatched from Sofia to gather all Bulgarian villages 
into the fold of the Bulgarian church and nationalism. In 
the bitter and bloody struggle that followed the Vlachs were 
soon involved, for the Greek bands were ordered to turn 
their attention to the Roumanian schools as well. Threats 
soon reduced the numbers of the Roumanian party, several 
of their schools were burnt, many of their more staunch 
advocates were murdered and their homes and property 
destroyed. One result of this was that Vlach bands soon 
appeared on the opposite side, but from their numbers and 
position were compelled to act mainly on the defensive. In 
July 1908 with the proclamation of the Ottoman constitution 
this campaign ended and comparative peace followed. One 
result of the recent wars has been that Roumania has secured 
from all the Balkan states educational and religious freedom 
for the Vlachs and the continuance of Roumanian schools 
where they are desired. This should put an end for ever 
to the peculiarly mean squabble in which the Vlachs have 
been concerned. 


Owing to this deplorable dispute it has been extremely 
hard for any one to acquire accurate information about the 
Vlach villages. As Weigand found many years ago when the 
quarrel was in its infancy and no blood had been spilt any 
one enquiring into Vlach dialects was viewed with the utmost 
suspicion and liable to be told the most fantastic tales. Thus 
on one occasion we overheard the school children being 
ordered to talk only Greek as long as we were present ; in 
another village which we were assured spoke only Greek, 
Vlach proved to be the common tongue. Nearly all modem 
Greek books and pamphlets on the Vlachs which might other- 
wise be of extreme interest and value, are owing to their 
political theories almost entirely worthless. Political phil- 
ology has shown that Kutsovlach means ' little Vlach ' and 
that ' a little Vlach ' means one who is mostly a Hellene. 
This result is apparently reached by deriving the word first 
from kuchuk and confounding it with the meaning of zovrtjoc. 
Another work purporting to be a sober historical enquiry 
ends with the wish that our foes may hate us or better still 
fear us. Such literature can hardly be taken seriously, but 
at the same time its authors, often hellenized Vlachs, possess 
a knowledge of the country that no stranger can hope to 
acquire. Roumanian books on the Vlachs like the Greek 
are not impartial witnesses. From the nature of the case 
however they are less liable to fantastic theories ; as regards 
the language they often minimize the number of Greek loan 
words in common use, in history and in folklore Rome plays 
a larger part at times than is either likely or possible and 
the numbers in the Vlach communities are calculated on a 
liberal basis. Estimates of population are all exceedingly 
doubtful ; the Turkish figures take no account of race and 
are only concerned with religion, so that a Greek may mean 
a Bulgarian, Vlach or Albanian member of the Patriarchist 
Church. Nationality too in the Balkans is still in a state of 
flux ; and classifications according to descent, language or 
political feeling would lead to different results. To take a 
simple case from Greece itself; by descent nearly all the 
Attic villagers are Albanians, a linguistic test would still 


give a large number of Albanians, for comparatively few 
have entirely adopted Greek. Yet if they were asked to 
what nation they belonged the large majority would probably 
answer Greek, and all would be Greek in politics and ideals. 

A Greek estimate made before political troubles began 
put the total number of Vlachs at 600,000 ; later Greek 
estimiates give usually a much lower figure. An enthusiastic 
Roumanian has proposed 2,800,000, but other Roumanian 
estimates are from about 850,000 upwards. Weigand who 
has paid more attention to the subject than any other traveller 
puts the total of Vlachs in the whole peninsula at 373,520. 
This seems to us to err on the side of moderation, for it is 
based largely on the calculation of five persons to a house, 
which from our own experience of Vlach villages is well below 
the average. Including as Vlachs all those who learnt Vlach 
as their mother tongue we should estimate the total at not 
less than half a million. Of these however some will now 
be using Greek and others Bulgarian in everyday life and 
their children will not know Vlach at all. Quite apart from 
questions which involve politics, information of any kind is 
difficult to acquire. At times courtesy towards the stranger 
which especially in the villages as we have good reason to 
know is very real indeed, demands that all answers given 
should be adapted to the questioner's assumed desires ; on 
the other hand there is a deep-rooted belief, by no means 
confined to the villages, that all strangers being credulous 
the most fantastic answers will suffice. Once in the early 
days when our knowledge of Vlach was small we arrived at 
a Vlach village which had just reunited after a winter in the 
plains. All around were talking Vlach ; we were welcomed 
kindly by the schoolmaster who spoke to us in Greek. " We 
only talk Vlach when we first meet again after the winter " 
were almost his first words. It was not till a month later 
that wc heard another word of Greek. 

It is perhaps necessary to add that no dragoman or in- 
terpreter has ever been with us on our journeys; most of 
our wanderings have been made alone and of those many 
on foot. 



Kand are z yina prumuveara 
S easa Arumanri pri la mundza, 
Lilitshe n'i di pri Maiu! 

When it is the season for the spring to come, for the Vlachs to go 
out on the mountains, my flower of May ! 

Vlach Song 

LARGE numbers of the Vlachs from Northern Pindus 
who pass the winter in the plains of Thessaly or Southern 
Macedonia arrange their departure for the hills each 
spring so as to pass through Ghrevena on their way home at 
the time of the great fair of St Akhilhos which begins each 
year on the Monday that falls between the i6th and the 23rd 
of May O.S. (May 29th to June 5th N.S.), and lasts four or 
five days. 

Several days before the date of the fair we came to Timavos 
so as to travel up with the Vlach families to Samarina, as we 
had arranged. We found our muleteer and his family eagerly 
awaiting our arrival, but some days elapsed before the journey 
to Samarina began. First there was some uncertainty about 
the date of the fair, which was proclaimed by the Turkish 
authorities at Ghrevena, and secondly there was a change of 
plan as to the route to be followed. The direct route from 
Tirnavos or any place in Northeastern Thessaly to Ghrevena 
and the Vlach villages in Northern Pindus leads through the 
pass of Tirnavos to Kephalovriso leaving Elassona on the 
right, and then turns westwards to Dhiskata and so by Dhimi- 
nitsa and Phili to Ghrevena. This road is that normally used 
by the Vlachs who are joined as they go by friends and re- 
lations from the villages in the valley of the Xerias, the ancient 


Europos, the district being known as Potamia. In 191 o 
however the annual disturbance in Albania had begun some- 
what earlier than usual, and all passing into Turkey were 
liable to be searched rigorously for arms and ammunition. It 
was considered advisable to avoid the pass of Tirnavos where 
the Turkish customs officials were reported to be very severe 
and instead to take a longer route by Trikkala and Kalabaka 
crossing the frontier at Velemishti. In fairness perhaps to 
our fellow-travellers it should be said that this change of plan 
was made in hopes of avoiding the trouble of unpacking all 
the baggage — no light task where whole families are concerned 
— and not because on this particular occasion they were engaged 
in smuggling arms. 

The few days in Tirnavos were not on the whole unwelcome. 
We made the acquaintance of several of the Vlach famiHes 
who like ourselves were bound for the hills, began to learn 
a few words of their language, and to get a first glimpse of 
their life, manners and customs. The Vlach population of 
Tirnavos consists of over a hundred families, nearly all of 
which come from Samarina. By profession these Vlachs are 
muleteers, small tradesmen, cobblers, ironworkers, shepherds 
and butchers, but most either by leaving their business or else 
taking it with them manage to spend a part, if not all, of the 
summer in their homes in Pindus. 

Thursday, May 26th, was the day finally fixed for departure. 
The morning and early afternoon were spent in endless pre- 
parations. In view of a long and hot journey leeches were put 
on the mules' hocks, and they were all re-shod. A large 
amount of wool, for the women to work during the summer, 
besides household goods and chattels, and clothes had to be 
stowed away in large striped sacks, and made up into bundles 
of equal weight, and lastly a lamb had to be roasted whole, 
an essential preparation for a Vlach journey. All at length 
being ready, the baggage was loaded on the mules and at five 
o'clock in the afternoon we left Tirnavos. Our own particular 
party consisted of our two selves, the muleteer, his grand- 
mother, his mother, his aunt with her two little girls, Phota 
and Aspasia aged about seven and five, a girl relation, several 





chickens, an ill-tempered kitten and a dog, all of which 
excepting the last were enthroned on the mules' pack saddles 
between the bundles of baggage (Plate II i). One muleteer 
can work a team of about six mules and a horse. The average 
load for a mule is slightly over two hundred pounds, to which 
must be added the weight of the rider, but in hilly or rough 
ground all dismount except the old women or small children. 
The horse which leads the caravan usually has a lighter load, 
but is always ridden, for no Vlach muleteer will walk when he 
can possibly ride (Plate II 2). Imndnddlid which literally 
means on foot, is Vlach slang for being in the gutter. Attached 
to our party was a muleteer from Smiksi ^\ith his five mules, 
three of which were devoted to carrying an old woman, her 
daughter and their belongings, and the other two to trans- 
porting part of the property of our muleteer's family. Thus 
on leaving Tirnavos we had in all a train of ten animals. 
Owing to the late start the first stage of the journey was soon 
finished, and at 7.30 p.m. we stopped for the night at a place 
not far from the ferry over the Peneus at Ghunitsa, where we 
found several other families already encamped, who had 
left Tirnavos shortly before us. The mules were soon unladen, 
the bundles piled up in an orderly row, rugs spread on the 
ground, and after discussing the roast lamb we turned in for 
the night, while the muleteers picked up their goat's-hair 
capes and went to sleep and watch by their mules. Curiously 
enough no Vlach muleteer ever tethers or hobbles his mules 
at night when they are turned loose to graze. Consequently 
he must watch them as much to prevent straying as theft. 
Here as on most occasions when the night was clear conversa- 
tion turned on Halley's comet which was then blazing in the 
western sky. It was pointing towards Macedonia, and was 
thought to be a sign of war. 

The practice of starting late in the day and camping for 
the night after a journey of two hours or even less is common 
among Vlach muleteers, although not peculiar to them 
alone. At first sight there is little to recommend this plan, 
but in practice it is found to be the only effective means of 
securing an early and a punctual start on the following day. 


In summer also and for the greater part of the year a night 
in the open is preferable to one in a village khan, which is 
sure to be stuffy and probably also very dirty. 

Friday, May zjth. — All were astir long before dawn and at 
4 a.m. the mules being laden we moved do^vn to the river 
bank to await our turn for the ferry boat, which took five 
mules and seven or eight people each journey. Meanwhile 
the sun had risen and we could see up the gorge made by the 
river as it breaks through the bare limestone hills that border 
the Thessalian plain. The Turkish frontier here crossed the 
river and recrossing it below Kutsokhiro included a group of 
hills on the southern bank. These hills to the south of the 
Peneus were one of the strategic advantages obtained by the 
Turks after the war of 1897, and were joined to the rest of 
Turkey by a military bridge, just visible from Ghunitsa ferry. 
While we waited on the bank the iniquities of a certain khan- 
keeper, who had best be nameless, came under discussion. 
A muleteer made a miniature grave mound, put a cross at 
its head, and formally cursed the khan-keeper with the words, 
" So-and-so is dead." Within a year he was robbed, abandoned 
his khan, and fled. A belief in this particular form of magic 
is probably common amongst both Vlachs and Greeks, but no 
other example has yet come under our notice. After an 
hour's delay all were safely across, and we continued our way 
over the plain keeping the frontier close on the right. Soon 
we overtook another family that had made an earlier start 
on the previous day, and passed the river before nightfall. 
Their unusual display of energy had met with its own reward, 
for we found them vainly searching for two mules that had 
strayed during the night. An hour and a half from Ghunitsa 
we reached the Trikkala road about seventeen kilometres 
west of Larissa, and following it crossed the Peneus for the 
second time by the ferry at Kutsokhiro. The old wooden 
bridge, that spanned the river here was carried away many 
years ago by a flood. Preparations were promptly made 
for a new one : an embankment was made for the road, 
and piers were built in the river. The work was then 
abandoned, and has not now been touched for several 


years. Local opinion is undecided as to who is precisely to 
blame, and suggests the ferryman or the railway which is 
supposed to dislike road traffic. We crossed this time with 
little delay, but two mules jammed their bundles in the ferry 
boat and broke a bottle containing five okes of the best Tirnavos 
uzo. Uzo is the North Greek variety of raki ; that made at 
Tirnavos is justly famous. We followed the road for some 
distance, and at 10 a.m. halted in a grove of mulberry trees 
by the roadside just beyond the khan of Zarkos. The village 
of Zarkos, which lies in a recess in the hills to the north of 
the road, has a considerable Vlach population mainly from 

The midday halt lasted several hours. Fires were lit and 
enough food cooked to last till the next day, for the camping 
ground where the night was to be spent was known to be bare 
of fuel. On the most frequented routes the muleteers have 
regular camping grounds where wood, water and grass can 
be found together. The whole journey is often calculated by 
so many kundk'i or camps, and the length of each day's 
journey depends on the position of these rather than on the 
distance actually covered. The sun was so hot that those 
who could not find shade under the mulberries unpacked and 
set up their tents. As a race the Vlachs seem to feel the heat 
to an excessive degree, and even in the hills will complain 
of the sun on a day which most would consider only reasonably 
warm. A Vlach tent, which is only used for sun or heavy 
rain, is of a simple and effective type (Plate III 2). It 
consists of a long, oblong blanket, very thick and made of 
coarse wool, and in colour white with broad black or dark brown 
stripes. The narrow ends are pegged to the ground, while 
the centre is supported by two light poles connected at the 
top by a thin cross-bar. The baggage heaped up and covered 
by another blanket forms a back, and so a simple gable tent 
without a door is made. These tents have two points in their 
favour, first the sides can be touched without any fear of letting 
in the rain, and secondly they are very light and portable. 
The two poles and the cross-bar, hardly thicker than laths, 
make no appreciable difference to any mule load, and the 


blanket helps to temper the hardness of a wooden pack 
saddle. In a more severe climate a Vlach tent might prove 
insufficient ; a door would be an advantage, and might easily 
be contrived ; but for Macedonia however they will be found 
in all ways satisfactory. As to how many each tent holds 
opinions will differ, for it depends on the state of the weather 
outside, but on a bad night six or seven can sleep inside with 

Breaking camp at 4 p.m. we start off again towards Trikkala 
in a long procession increased by several families that had 
joined us in the course of the morning from Tatar and other 
villages near Larissa and Tirnavos. The main road to Trik- 
kala here runs along the foot of the hills, in places on a small 
embankment, and in places cut out of the hill-side to avoid 
some large pools and marshes fed by springs at the hill foot. 
This road does not appear on the Austrian staff map, which 
marks instead a presumably older road, now never used, some 
distance to the south. At 7.30 p.m. we turned off the road to 
the north and camped on a small level space between the foot 
of the hills and the marshes. On a low isolated hill just behind 
our camp are the ruins of a Hellenic and medieval city, known 
now as Paleogardhiki. Directly separating this from the 
main range is a deep hollow in the ground called Zurpapa 
where local tradition says that a priest who by a trick had 
obtained his bishop's permission to commit incest with his 
daughter, was swallowed up. 

Saturday, May 28th. — An early start was made at 3.30 a.m. 
in order to get beyond Kalabaka by evening. We turned back 
into the main road, and went straight along it to Trikkala, 
the first place that merits notice on this day's journey. Two- 
thirds at least of the population of this town are Vlachs or of 
Vlach extraction. Some of the Samarina Vlachs since the 
cession of Thessaly to Greece in 1881, became permanent 
residents on Greek soil, and founded a New Samarina in the 
southern part of Pindus due west of Trikkala above Karvuno- 
Lepenitsa, to which they go in the summer. But the majority 
are still faithful to their old homes, and as we passed through 
the town several families joined us increasing the caravan to 





fr^"-- 41 

A \ I.Al (i (. A.\li' A I AllllllA^ 


over a mile in length. Many more came out to say good-bye, 
and send messages to friends and relations at Ghrevena and 

Beyond Trikkala we set our faces northwards. Here the 
character of the country changes rapidly ; trees become more 
common ; the wide, open plain contracts, and beyond Kala- 
baka gives place to a wooded valley through which the Peneus 
comes down from Malakasi. Up this valley is the famous 
route that leads over the Zighos to Metsovo and Yannina 
and throughout history has been the main road into Thessaly 
from the west. In the last thirty years since the cession of 
Thessaly it has fallen into disuse. The creation of a frontier 
across this route and the high Greek customs tariff have 
strangled the once flourishing trade, and the villages on it, 
which are nearly all Vlach, have dwindled in size. 

At 10.30 a.m. a halt was made on the banks of the river 
of Trikkala at the foot of the hill on which stands the monastery 
of St Theodore. Two views of this encampment showing the 
rocks of the Meteora in the distance are given on Plate III. 

At 4 p.m. we started again, and reaching Kalabaka just 
before sunset followed the valley northwards. We skirt the 
foot of the Meteora rocks, pass the village of Kastraki, and 
going slowly over a rough track that had once been a paved 
road pass a khan, and then camp for the night at 8.30 p.m. in a 
field about an hour from Kastraki. 

Sunday, May 2gth. — There was a long delay in starting. 
Two mules during the night had strayed into a field of maize, 
and had been impounded by the watchmen. By the time they 
had been ransomed and all was ready it was 6 a.m. 

This late start had its advantages as we had a glimpse 
up the Peneus valley towards IMalakasi and saw the isolated 
monastery-crowned crags of the Meteora by daylight. From 
time to time on our way up from Kalabaka we passed 
under rocks of the same weird formation and saw others 
standing by the edges of the valleys like grim sentinels. Then 
we turned off up the bed of the Murghani river where the plane 
trees on either side prevented any distant view. 

At about nine o'clock we leave the river bed, and at 10 a.m. 


camp on the hill-side about an hour from Velemishti. Here 
we were in the midst of a fine champaign country which was 
very pleasant to the eyes after the scorched and treeless 
Thessalian plains. Here were rolling hills, green and grassy, 
and well covered with trees among which oaks and wild pears 
were prominent. Water seemed plentiful, and the soil rich. 
This, if looks go for anything, should be an ideal agricultural 
and pastoral district. At 4 p.m. we were off again, and passing 
through the village without stopping reached the frontier 
station on the top of the ridge about half a mile further on. 
The Turkish customs officer, an Albanian, did not prove quite 
so amenable as had been hoped. He ordered all the mules to 
be unladen, and then satisfied his conscience by making a 
superficial search or rather by kicking each bundle in turn. 
This and the examination of passports occupied the time till 
sunset, so we stopped for the night on a grassy slope on the 
Turkish side. 

Velemishti is a squalid Hashiot village, which owns several 
vineyards and some fields of corn and maize, and is wealthy 
compared with other Hashiot villages. The district called 
Hashia comprises the hill country between the Peneus and the 
Haliakmon on both sides of the former Graeco-Turkish frontier. 
Its western limit may be marked roughly by a line drawn 
from Ghrevena to Kalabaka, and its eastern limit by a similar 
line from Serfije through Elassona to Tirnavos. The name 
seems to imply that the villages in this district are all chiftliks. 
That is to say that each village instead of being composed of 
small holdmgs, is the absolute property of one or more absentee 
landlords. The inhabitants are thus little better than serfs, 
for within their own villages they can own nothing. The 
landlords are represented by resident bailiffs who collect the 
share of the produce due to the landlord. The landlord's 
share is usually a half, if he finds the seed and the cost of plough- 
ing, and a third if the peasant finds them. Often petty acts 
of tyranny take place. Some will take their third or half 
before setting aside the seed corn. Others will let the whole of 
the common pasturage of the village to nomad shepherds, 
and refuse the peasants any right of pasture without payment, 


for the usual custom is that a peasant has the right to pasture 
so many head of sheep, cattle or horses. The houses even 
when they boast two stories, are built of wattle and daub or of 
mud-brick, but are as a rule in a most dilapidated and filthy 
condition. The peasant has no interest in repairing what 
is not his own, and the landlord is anxious only for his income. 
The inhabitants, though as might be expected in hill villages, 
they are often sturdy and healthy in appearance, are probably 
the lowest type of Greek to be found. They are slow and 
stupid and excessively dirty. Amongst their neighbours 
they have a bad reputation, for they are thought to be dis- 
honest and treacherous. In fact the name Hashiot with 
some is almost a synonym for a dirty and thievish beggar. 

The woods in the neighbourhood of Velemishti made it a 
favourable place for all who wished to cross the frontier un- 
observed. In the autumn of 1911, when owing to the cholera 
in Macedonia, the Greek authorities took strict measures to see 
that all who entered Greece secretly should at least do quaran- 
tine, the extent of this traffic was revealed. At Velemishti 
alone in the space of five days over fifty such persons were 
found, including a band of five brigands who had spent the 
summer in Macedonia, and an average of ten a day was con- 
sidered normal. Absentee landlordism, and the facilities once 
offered for brigandage by the frontier in the absence of any 
extradition treaty, seem to be the main reasons for the deplor- 
able state of the Hashiot villages. 

Monday, May 30/^. — We start at 6 a.m. having first said 
good-bye to the Albanian customs officer, who is left in a 
state of blank amazement at two Europeans who travel with 
Vlachs and prefer a night in the open to one in an aged guard 
house. Our road leads through country similar to that below 
Velemishti. To the north-east we see a fine stretch of open 
undulating country extending as far as Dhiminitsa and the 
Hahakmon ; to the north-west whither our way lies, we go 
across rolling hills well covered with oak woods and scrub. 
An hour after starting we pass Manesi unseen on the left, 
and shortly after a Turkish gendarmerie station just visible 
on a wooded ridge to the right. Four gendarmes watching 


by the roadside were the only sign of life till we reached 
Pleshia, a miserable Hashiot village. This consists of some 
half-dozen buildings of wattle and daub looking far less like 
human habitations than dissipated pigstyes. When we 
passed through Pleshia in August 1912 it was totally deserted. 
The long procession of mules slowly climbs the ridge 
beyond this village, and here our fellow-travellers obtain 
their first glimpse of their native land. There to the north- 
west towering over the craggy ridge of Spileo are the great 
peaks of Pindus, Zmolku and Vasilitsa, still covered with 
snow, and half hidden in clouds. The first sight of their 
home naturally caused great excitement amongst young and 

" Have you mountains in your country ? " 
" Yes, but our mountains are not so high." 
" Our mountains are covered with pines and beeches." 
" In England pines and beeches grow in the plains." 
Chorus of children and others somewhat incredulous, 
" They say that they have pines and beeches in the plains, 
but their mountains are not so high as ours." 

At 10.30 we halt in a clearing by a spring for the usual 
midday rest, and at 3 p.m. start again so as to reach the scene 
of the fair before nightfall. The country continues to be 
thickly wooded until just beyond Eleftherokliori, a Hashiot 
village, somewhat larger than Pleshia, but equally filthy, 
where after a sharp descent we reach the banks of the 
Venetiko river, the most considerable tributary of the 
Haliakmon in this district. At this point there is a stone 
bridge over the ri\^er, but so broken that the mules had to 
be led across, which is usually known as the bridge of Ghrevena, 
though the town lies on another small river an hour to the 
north. The Vlachs however call the bridge Puiiyea di 
Pushanlu, the Bridge of Pushan. As all had to dismount 
when crossing the bridge, and since there was some excitement 
over the prospect of reaching the town soon, our caravan 
unconsciously assumed the order usual when approaching a 
resting-place. First came a troop of boys of all ages from 
eight to fourteen hurrying on on foot, and eager to be in 


first. They were followed by a band of women and girls 
also on foot, most of whom were carrying their shoes in their 
hands in order to get over the rough ground more easily. 
The rear was brought up by the long and slowly moving 
procession of laden mules (Plate II i), by side of which walked 
the muleteers and men urging them on with sticks, stones 
and curses, and ever on the look out lest a mule should get 
into rough ground. If a mule gets into uneven ground, the 
clumsy bundles balanced on its pack saddle, which is never 
tightly girthed, begin to sway ominously from side to side, 
and may turn right over to one side saddle and all, and so 
involve five minutes' delay while all is unfastened, and re- 
loaded. Also should a mule stumble and fall it cannot get 
up again unaided ; the load is too hea\^ and clumsy. Then 
when men rush in on either side and lift the bundles to help 
the mule to rise, the perverse animal as often as not politely 
declines to do so, and rolls over on its side kicking out in 
a tangle of ropes, bales, chickens, cooking pots, puppies and 
any other small items that may hsive been thro^\Tl on top. 
Between each of the three divisions of the caravan there 
was a gap, and with the last mounted on the mules was all 
that could not walk, grandmothers, cats, babies and chickens. 
Up the steep ascent on the other side of the Venetiko we 
pushed on ahead with the division of boys, till we came out 
on to a wide gi"assy plateau. This was covered with droves 
of grazing mules and horses, each in charge of a small Vlach 
boy, and showed that at last the fair was near at hand. In 
less than an hour the plateau was crossed, and suddenly on 
reaching its northern edge Ghrevena and the fair of St 
Akhillios came into view. The shelving slope beneath us 
was covered with groups of Vlach tents arranged according 
to villages. Here were the Smiksi families from Potamia, 
there the Pcrivoli folk from Velestinos, beyond the Samarina 
people from Elassona, below the Avdhela families, and so on. 
At the foot of the slope was the river of Ghrevena, a \vide 
but shallow stream, which flows into the Haliakmon a few 
miles further east. Directly in front on the further bank 
was the town with its trees, minarets and clock tower nesthng 


in the valley. Immediately to the east a flat, open common 
by the river was the actual scene of the fair, thronged with 
people and dotted with booths. Being late arrivals — the 
fair had begun that morning — it took us some time to find 
a vacant space to pitch our tents. This accomplished we 
spent the last remains of daylight in wandering through 
the encampment, looking at the busy crowd on the far side 
of the river and enquiring after the prospects, sights and 
shows of the morrow. 

Ghrevena (Plate IV i), which the Vlachs call Grebene and 
the Turks Gerebina, is a long straggling town and of con- 
siderable strategic importance as it commands both the roads 
leading from Northwestern Thessaly into the upper basin 
of the Haliakmon, and those leading from Yannina and 
Konitsa towards Salonica through Southwestern Macedonia. 
For this reason at the beginning of the war of 1897 Greek 
irregular bands under Davelis with some Garibaldians under 
Cipriani made a fruitless raid over the frontier with the 
object of seizing Ghrevena and so cutting the Turkish 
communications between Epirus and Macedonia. The town 
is the seat of a Greek orthodox bishop and what we know of 
its history is principally due to its bishops. Pouqueville 
says that it is included by Constantine Porphyrogenitus in 
his list of the towns of Macedonia as Tpi(iai>K, but the Bonn 
text reads UpifBam. The bishopric was one of those subject 
to the independent Patriarchate of Achrida (the modern 
Okhridha). It was not one of the original dioceses mentioned 
in the golden bull of Basil II when he confirmed the privileges 
of this Bulgarian Patriarchate, but it occurs in two lists of 
the bishoprics in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. Dositheos 
relates that Leo Archbishop of Achrida, one Saturday or- 
dained a certain 'lojdvvrig K&-«^ci%s/pog priest, and the next day, 
Sunday, consecrated him bishop of Ghrevena. Le Quien 
thought this referred to Leo II, who lived early in the twelfth 
century, but it is just possible that it might refer to Leo I 
who flourished in the eleventh century. Demetrios 
Chomatianos, Archbishop of Achrida in the first half of the 
thirteenth century, mentions in one of his letters the death 


of Theodore, bishop of Ghrevena. We next hear of the 
bishopric in 1383 and an ecclesiastical document of the 
Patriarch of Constantinople dated 1395 mentions zdar^ov 
Tpz^ivov Xzyofyjei/ov. From other sources we learn that on 
December 6th 1422 Neophytos Bishop of Ghrevena died, and 
that in 1538 the bishop was called Symeon. In lists giving 
the dioceses under the Patriarch of Achrida and in the 
synodical acts and other documents of the same Patriarchate 
of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the diocese and 
its bishops are frequently mentioned. The earliest bishop 
given is Gregory who was alive in 1668. He was followed 
by Theophanes who flourished about 1676. This energetic 
prelate although the synod had already chosen another 
Patriarch of Achrida, journeyed to Adrianople and obtained 
the see through the Sublime Porte. He was formally de- 
throned by the Patriarch of Constantinople. His accusers 
alleged that though only a monk he had seized the bishopric 
of Ghrevena and had acted as such without being consecrated. 
Further he was said to have induced the Patriarch of Achrida, 
Ignatios a man of no intelligence and ignorant of ecclesiastical 
law to consecrate him. He was also accused of perjury, 
adultery, theft and of trying to take from the Patriarchate 
of Constantinople and bring under his own authority the 
diocese of Beroea. Other bishops mentioned are Pankratios, 
Theophanes (this name occurs from 1683 to 1740, so probably 
there were two of the same name). Seraphim, Makarios and 

After the Turkish conquest Ghrevena obtained the position 
which it held throughout Turkish times, as the capital of a 
district, first as the seat of a mudir till i860, and then of a 
kaimmakam till 191 2. In the sixteenth century according 
to Aravandinos, it was made the centre for one of the capitan- 
liks of armatoli, a kind of christian militia maintained by the 
Turkish government to guard the roads and keep order. 
These armatoli were often brigands, who were taken into 
service on the principle of setting a thief to catch a thief. 
Robbers frequently betrayed one another to the authorities, 
and if any armatoli and brigands fell in a skirmish, the Turks 


philosophically considered that it was merely a case of dog 
eating dog. Ghrevena is often mentioned in the modern 
Greek klephtic ballads, large numbers of which refer to Vlach 
or Kupatshar worthies. When the armatoli system fell into 
disorder this region, like most of Western Macedonia, was put 
into the strong hand of Ali Pasha. Afterwards it formed 
part of the independent sanjak of Serfije, which was later 
attached to the vilayet of Monastir. Some interesting details 
about the armatoli and brigands of Ghrevena can be gleaned 
from Aravandinos, Lambridhis and other sources, which we 
have supplemented by personal enquiries on the spot. One 
of the most renowned was Dhimitrios Totskas, a native of 
Olympus, who flourished in the latter half of the eighteenth 
century. He built a church of Ayia Paraskevi at Alpokhori, 
and in 1776 at the suggestion of A3dos Kosmas gave forty 
fonts to forty villages, and in 1779 built a mill at Dhervizhana 
which produced a yearly income of twenty pounds for the 
church. This was only one side of his life. Wlien urged 
by Ayios Kosmas to give up his robber life, he is said to have 
replied that in the spring his inclinations naturally turned 
towards brigandage and murder. In 1770 or soon after he in 
company with Belos the capitan of Metsovo, waylaid and cut 
to pieces a band of Albanians returning with plunder from the 
unsuccessful Greek rising in the Peloponnese, which had been 
instigated by the Russians under Orloff. This exploit is said 
to have taken place between Smiksi and Philippei, and so 
probably on the col of Morminde. In 1780 he was bribed 
by Abdi Pasha to ambush one Tsomanga of Metsovo, but 
only succeeded in killing his fellow-traveller K. Kaphetsis. 
He was murdered by the orders of Kurt Pasha in the church- 
yard at Dhervizhana, where he usually wintered. Aravandinos 
asserts that he flourished under Ali Pasha, was the successor 
of Yeorghakis Zhakas of Mavronoro as capitan of Ghrevena and 
was killed at Kipurio in 1809. Yeorghakis Zhakas of Mavronoro 
was the founder of the best known brigand family. He 
served under Deli Dhimos whom he succeeded as capitan of 
Ghrevena, but later is said to have quarrelled with Ali Pasha 
and joined forces with Vlakliavas who in 1808 made an un- 


successful revolt in Thessaly. Yeorghakis who died in 1814, 
was succeeded by his two sons Yiannulas and Theodhoros, 
who by their activity as brigands compelled the authorities 
to recognise them as armatoli. In 1826 the two brothers 
were betrayed and attacked in their house at Mavronoro 
by Mehmed Agha, the energetic Mutesellim of Ghrevena. 
Yiannulas was killed, but Theodhoros escaped to Greece. 
Two years later he returned and his first act was to revenge 
himself on the Makri family who had betrayed him. He is 
said to have killed them on his brother's grave. About the 
same time he conducted a very successful raid against the 
rich Greek village of Neghadhes in the Zaghori. In 1831 he 
invaded Ghrevena and burnt many houses both christian 
and Turkish. The next year he with two companions was 
attacked by Mehmed Agha at Spileo, but escaped. In 1832 
he took part with other brigand chiefs in the sacking and burning 
of Kastania in Phthiotis. Up till 1835 he remained in the 
Zaghori or near Ghrevena as the terror of the country, but in 
that year he retired into Greece. In 1852 he surrendered to 
the authorities at Yannina, but quickly returned to his old 
trade again. In 1854 he joined in the abortive rising in 
Epirus, Thessaly and Macedonia. He is said to have rescued 
some Samarina families when attacked in camp by Turkish 
troops, and was later blockaded by Abdi Pasha in the monastery 
at Spileo. When Zhakas was actively pursuing his trade as 
brigand in the Zaghori he made his head-quarters in the Vale 
Kalda (warm valley) near Baieasa, the great hiding-place at 
all periods for robbers. To-day a craggy height near Valea 
Kalda is known as Zhakas' fort and is so marked on the 
Austrian staff map. In 1878 in his old age he took part in the 
rising in Thessaly, and on its failure retired to his estate at 
Akhladhi near Lamia in Greece where he died about 1882 
full of years and honour. On the Turkish side Mehmed Agha 
was the most prominent character at Ghrevena in those 
stormy times. His grandfather Husseyn Agha was one of 
three brothers who left Bana Luka in Bosnia in the eighteenth 
century. One settled at Avlona in Southern Albania, one 
somewhere in AnatoHa, and the third at Ghrevena. His son 


Veli Agha was ruler of Ghrevena in the days of Ali Pasha, 
and after the death of the Lion of Yannina is said to have 
taken part in the siege of Mesolongi. His son Mehmed Agha 
was for some time at Yannina with AH Pasha and was smuggled 
out of the town across the lake in a coffin by Duda, one of the 
Pasha's couriers. He then rode for his life to Ghrevena. 
Afterwards he made Duda's two sons devrentji's, one at the 
Bridge of the Pasha over the Hahakmon on the road between 
Ghrevena and Shatishta, and the other at Mavranei. Mehmed 
Agha on his death was succeeded by his son Veli Bey who 
died in 1880. The latter's two sons Rif'at and Fu'ad live in 
their grandfather's great fortified house in Ghrevena to-day 
(1912). The house or rather fort (Plate IV i) stands in the 
middle of the town and covers an area of between two and 
three acres. From outside one sees a high loopholed wall 
built in an oblong space. At each angle is a square tower 
and in the middle of each of the long sides there is another. 
The gate is in the middle of the southern short wall facing 
towards the river of Ghrevena and the two corner towers on 
this side are larger than the others. The entrance goes 
obliquely through the thick wall and one is in the midst of a 
large courtyard in the centre of which a big, strongly built, 
Turkish house stands like a keep. The whole place was 
constructed for refuge and defence. Sheep and horses could 
be pastured within the walls which enclose four springs and a 
cistern. On the north side of the house was an isolated 
tower standing in the court, which was the powder magazine. 
The dates still visible in two places on the outside wall are 
1829 and 1830 which show that the dates given in the tales 
about the career of Mehmed Agha are probably fairly accurate. 
He was exceedingly active in attempting to suppress brigand- 
age and is frequently mentioned in the klephtic ballads. He 
was constantly skirmishing with Zhakas and his friends, one 
of whom Yeorghakis Bisovitis he compelled to surrender and 
shortly after murdered in the market-place at Ghrevena, 
according to Aravandinos. In December 1832 he besieged 
the band of Suleyman Beltsopulos in the church at Subeno, 
and setting fire to it destroyed both brigands and church 

PLATE //-• 

».» .»- 



SA.MARl.XA: Till. |i.\.\(K AT THE FE>'il\Ai. K)\ WW. Ab.SL' .M I'Tl UN 


together. In 1844 he is said to have abducted a maiden 
of Ghrevena called Sula, who had refused to become his wife. 
His grandchildren say that his first wife was a christian maiden 
from Phili and that on her death he married her sister Midliala 
by whom he had one son and three daughters. He died 
in 1864 not far short of eighty years of age. 

Scanty as our information is it gives us some idea of the 
state of the district during the first half of the nineteenth 
century. The Turkish government frightened by the Greek 
revolution had determined to extinguish the armatoli, between 
whom and the brigands there was little difference. In Ghrevena 
was a Turkish garrison and some Albanian irregulars. Their 
duty was to suppress brigandage, and keep the main roads 
safe. The brigands would protect their own country against 
other bands, and support themselves by raiding neighbouring 
districts, christian or Turkish. But as we have seen in the 
case of the brothers Zhakas, there were feuds amongst the 
brigands themselves. If pursuit was too hot the robbers 
would retire into Greece, or surrender to the authorities and 
keep quiet for a time till they found a favourable opportunity 
to resume their profession. 

Ghrevena itself consists of two quarters. One is the town 
proper called Kasabas, really the Turkish word for town 
(Qasaba), where are the market, shops, government offices, 
prison and so on. The other is called Varoshi and lies to the 
west beyond a small stream. It is an exclusively christian 
quarter standing on a low hill, and comprises the bishop's 
palace, the metropolis, and some houses clustering round 
them. In Leake's day there were twenty, but now there are 
many more. Pouqueville states that the town was founded 
by colonists from a place he calls CasLron-Bouchalistas, but 
he does not say where this latter place was. It is possible 
that it may be the Valakhadhes village of Kastro which lies 
about three hours west of Ghrevena and contains the ruins of 
a medieval fort. Locally it is said that the first inhabitants 
of Ghrevena came from a place called Ghrevian Rakhiotis 
a ridge on the hill towards the village of Kira Kale about 
an hour north-west of the town. But with the information 


at present at our disposal it seems impossible to decide how 
or when the town was founded. Meletios, bishop of Athens, 
who lived from 1661 to 1714, says the town was commonly 
known as Avles, a statement doubted by Pouqueville. Leake 
says, " The Turkish makhala (quarter) of Greveno ... is the 
chief place of Grevena, which in the plural number compre- 
hends a great number of small Turkish villages and tjiftliks." 
Locally it is said that the town was once known as Avles, 
and that the particular quarter known by this name was in- 
habited by christians near the Turkish posting station and 
stood, where there are now fields, near the centre of the town 
on the bank of the river. Opposite this on the south side of 
the river was another quarter called Tshakalia which was the 
part burnt by Zhakas. This Avles quarter was still in exist- 
ence about a hundred and thirty years ago and was the 
Varoshi of those days. After the freedom of Greece Turks 
from Lala in the Peloponnese unable to live under a christian 
government came and settled in Ghrevena and occupied the 
centre of the town. Then the movement of the christians 
to the present Varoshi began. The Metropolis was built about 
1837, and is dedicated to St George, St Demetrius and St 
Akhillios. Before then there was only a small church of St 
George on the hill top in the midst of a wood, and houses were 
first built round it about 1780. The principal mosque by the 
Turkish cemetery on the west of the town was once the church 
of St Akhillios, and the other mosque to the east the church 
of Ayia Paraskevi. These were taken over by the Turks from 
Lala and about the same time they destroyed, so it is said, 
three other churches in the town, St Demetrius, St Nicholas 
and St Athanasius. The bishop did not always live at 
Ghrevena, but at Kipurio, so they say locally, and he used 
to be known as " Kyioq ' Avkojv, a name which never occurs in 
any of the documents relating to the bishopric referred to above. 
Still the little stream that comes down from Kira Kale and 
flows through the middle of the town is called Avliotis, and 
consequently the tale about the name Avles may possibly 
have some foundation and not be derived merely from a study 
of Meletios' geography. 


Ghrevena though situated in the valley and having no 
good water supply is a pleasant little town, but in summer 
is very hot. Above the town to the east is a large Turkish 
school and in a similar position to the west are the barracks. 
There are Greek and Vlach schools, several mosques, seven 
Greek churches and a Vlach chapel. A market wtU attended 
by the inhabitants of the neighbouring villages is held every 
Monday. The population cannot be estimated because so 
much of it is floating. The christians consist of Greeks from 
the Hashiot and Kupatshar villages, and Vlachs from Sa- 
marina, Smiksi, Perivoli, and Avdhela who are always more 
numerous in the winter. The Mohammedans consist of 
Albanians, Valakhadlies, and Turks from here, there and every- 
where. Of course since the war of 1912 in which it was partly 
burnt, Ghrevena has probably changed considerably in every 

Tuesday, May ^ist, the second day of the fair. — Shortly 
after dawn we crossed the river on a diminutive donkey hired 
from a venerable Turk at a halfpenny a journey, and went at 
once to the fair. The crowd amounted to several thousands, 
and the majority v/ere Vlachs. Vlach was the language most 
commonly in use, and no one who has heard the babble of a 
Vlach crowd can doubt the origin of the name Tsintsar. 
There were Vlachs from nearly every part of Southern Mace- 
donia, and Thessaly : most were in the national costume. 
Vlach costume is a complicated and extensive subject, and 
for a full account of the various garments and their names the 
reader must turn to a later chapter. Besides Vlachs, there 
were Greeks mostly Hashiots, a few Turks not counting gen- 
darmes and other officials, some gipsies dressed as usual in 
gaudy rags, and a number of Valakhadhes, and Kupatshari. 
The Valakhadlies are a mysterious people, Mohammedan by 
religion, but Greek by language, who principally inhabit the 
districts of Ghrevena, and Lapsishta where they occupy many 
villages. The Vlachs call them Vlahadzi and say that they 
are Vlachs who became Mohammedans, deriving the name 
from Vlach Agha, but this etymology is hardly convincing. 
According to a more probable tale they are Greeks converted 


to Islam and are called Valakhadhes because the only Turkish 
they know is V'allahi, By God. As an analogous case one may 
perhaps quote the Pomaks or ]\Iohammedan Bulgarians of the 
Salonica province who after the Turkish revolution of 1908 
were sedulously taught by the Young Turks as part of their 
programme of Ottomanisation to say V'alldhi instead of Boga 
mi. Nicolaidy who wrote in 1859 says that two hundred 
years before two Greek boys from a village near Lapsishta 
were taken as slaves to Constantinople and were there con- 
verted to Islam. Later they returned to their native land 
and began to preach the doctrines of their new faith. They 
made many converts among the christians anxious to escape 
from their inferior position and to obtain the right to bear 
arms, and were eventually rewarded with the title of Bey. 
Pouqueville seems to have thought that they were the descend- 
ants of the Vardariot Turks of Byzantine times, a theory 
which hardly seems possible. Weigand says that their racial 
type is Greek rather than Slavonic and that they have dark 
hair and aquiline noses. On the other hand many of those 
we have seen were tall and fair. But if the name Valaldiadhes 
merely means that they are converts to Mahommedanism, 
it need have no racial significance. 

The Kupatshari are hellenized or semi-hellenized Vlachs. 
That is to say that through intermarriage and the influence of 
the church and Greek education they have abandoned their 
native language. They still however retain the Vlach national 
costume, and many Vlach words occur in their dialect as well 
as many non-Greek sounds such as sh, zh, tsh, and dzh. They 
inhabit the district between Ghrevena and the pure Vlach 
villages of Pindus. At one of their villages, Labanitsa, which is 
only half hellenized we obtained some insight as to the process 
by which denationalisation occurs. In the school and church 
Greek is the only language used. All the older men in the 
village know Vlach and so do many of the women. But owing 
to the fact that the males outnumber the females the men are 
obliged to take brides from other villages. Pure Vlach \'illages 
like Turia and Perivoli are too proud to give their daughters 
in marriage to Kupatshari and so the bachelors of Labanitsa 


take brides from villages like Zalovo which are more or less 
completely hellenized. The children of these mixed marriages 
talk only Greek, the language they learn from their mothers, 
and so the younger generation for the most part knows only 
Greek. The name Kupatshari is derived by the Vlachs from 
the word kupatshu, oak tree, because the district inhabited 
by them is covered with oak woods. Lower down in the 
HaHakmon valley there are no woods, and higher up in the 
country from Turia to Samarina is the region of pines and 
beeches. This plausible explanation is rejected by Weigand, 
who says the word is of Slavonic origin and means digger or 
agriculturist. This would well apply to these people, for they 
are a settled folk and till the soil, and do not migrate like the 
mountain villages. Weigand further says that the Kupatshari 
district extends as far as Shatishta and into North Thessaly, 
but we have never heard the name applied to any other district 
except the lower hill country reaching from Ghrevena to 
Philippei and Kipurio. 

The main business of the fair was concerned with the buying 
and selling of mules. These are brought from all parts, but the 
best according to experts are those from Kassandra and 
Xanthi. A young Kassandra mule half broken and not in 
condition to carry a heavy load for several months was selling 
at anything between eighteen and twenty-two Turkish pounds, 
a price slightly dearer than the year before. Mules that had 
already been worked were also being sold, and had branches 
stuck in the pack saddles to indicate that they were for sale. 
Horses were less in evidence. A few animals, small according 
to English ideas, but useful enough, were being cantered reck- 
lessly through the crowd, and shewn off to some Turkish beys 
and a group of gendarmes looking for fresh mounts. Each 
sale had to be confirmed by a document giving the description 
and price of the animal sold, which was written out and stamped 
by a local official. The rows of booths filled a large space : 
food stalls where bread, wine, and lamb in all forms were on 
sale did the greatest trade, and after them came saddlemakers, 
and the sweet shops. At one end of the fair was an open court 
with small stone built shops around it, where jewellery, knives, 


cottons, silks, woollen goods, and watches and clocks were sold. 
But all except the jewellery, which was mostly silver filigree 
work, some of the watches, and the knives, were of European 
manufacture. In another part Gipsy coppersmiths squatting 
on the ground were offering for sale water pots and jugs of all 
shapes and sizes. Near them were many Vlach women with 
cast-off clothes which were finding a ready market with 
Hashiots, and cloaks and heavy woollen rugs and blankets 
of their own manufacture. 

Shortly after midday it began to rain in Pindus, and late in 
the afternoon the storm reached Ghrevena. The fair quickly 
became a scene of confusion, and there was a rush from all 
sides to cross the river to regain the shelter of the tents. Only 
a few had crossed when a bore was seen coming rapidly down, 
and what a few minutes before had been a clear stream of not 
more than a foot deep, was quickly turned into a muddy, 
impassable torrent. Some seeing what was happening ran 
down stream, and cutting off a corner owing to a bend in the 
river crossed just in front of the flood. Most however cut off 
from their tents had to wait in the rain and mud till an hour 
later when the river regained its normal size. Our tent was 
pitched on the hill side, and the rain soon began to trickle in 
at the bottom, and flow in streams across the floor. No trench 
that could be dug with a haltdki, that typical Balkan weapon, 
which is used for all things and does nothing well, proved of 
the slightest use. A haltaki in shape is like a broad bladed 
adze on a short haft, but in use is a cross between a hammer, 
a chisel, a spade, a carving knife and a can-opener. When 
bed-time came the women went out and cut branches from the 
thorn bushes round about. These they strewed on the ground 
and covered with rugs, and so made a couch which, if not 
absolutely dry, was not wet enough to be noticed. 

These sudden storms and floods are a common feature in 
certain parts of Northwestern Greece, and Macedonia, and 
at times do considerable damage as happened at Trikkala in 
June 1907 when many houses were destroyed. In most 
generalisations on Greek climate the year is divided into a dry 
season, summer, and a wet season, winter. But this is by no 


means always the case. In 1910 there was practically no 
'winter at all, except on the hills, until March, when snow fell 
in the Thessalian plain. In 1911 there was severe cold in 
January and February, and as late as the beginning of May 
snow fell on the lower hills. Throughout the summer violent 
thunderstorms are not uncommon in the Samarina district, and 
the Thessalian hills. They begin usually shortly after noon and 
last only for an hour or two, and Leake records the same pheno- 
mena as existing also in Aetoha and Epirus. The fact is 
that there are two separate climates in Greece, and the southern 
part of the Balkan peninsula. In the plains towards the east 
and south from Seres as far as Messenia there is a dry, warm 
southern climate. In the hills to the north-west and in Upper 
Macedonia there is a climate which may be called Central 
European, with short summers and winters, but with long 
springs and autumns. The effect of this on the country is most 
important, for it enables what may be conventionally called a 
northern race to flourish to some extent in latitudes suitable 
to mediterranean man. A careful examination of the flora 
and fauna of the regions referred to would possibly lead to the 
same conclusion. 

Wednesday, June 1st. — Though we awoke soon after sunrise, 
several hours elapsed before the mules were collected, and it 
was 9 a.m. when we started from Ghrevena in a long line that 
was a good four miles from end to end. Our own party had 
been increased by the addition of a new mule, a purchase 
at the fair, which was said to be nervous, and had an uncertain 
temper. Just beyond the outskirts of Ghrevena we left the 
metalled road that goes towards Yannina, and turned up a 
muddy track over low hills covered with thick woods of stunted 
oaks towards Mavronoro. Mavronoro is a Kupatshar village, 
and to judge by appearances prosperous. The houses are 
strongly built of stone, and have few windows on the ground 
floor 50 as to be capable of defence. Round the village are 
vineyards, and orchards of plums, pears, apples, cherries and 
walnuts. The inhabitants live by agriculture or in bad 
seasons brigandage, though of late the younger men have 
begun to emigrate to America mainly owing to the conscription 


of christians for the army instituted by the constitutional 
regime in Tvirkey. Passing through the middle of this village 
we soon after reached Vriashteno, a village of a similar 
type, but dirtier and inhabited by Valakhadhes. Thence we 
descended to the river of Vriashteno as the highter waters of 
the Venetiko are commonly called. Owing to the recent rain 
the river was well above its normal height, and even at the 
ford the water was up to the girths. The mules that were 
being ridden gave little or no trouble. But it was a different 
matter with the others which were laden only with baggage, 
or rather with baggage plus a few children tied round their 
middles or chickens tied by the legs. These mules, waiting 
till they were about half-way across, would then begin to wander 
aimlessly up stream, stumbling and slipping over the smooth 
round boulders in the bed of the river. The baggage would 
roll from side to side, first one pack and then the other would 
dip in the water, and the whole would threaten to fall. This 
had to be avoided at all costs, since if a laden mule falls in 
a river there is some danger of its being drowned. Sticks, 
stones and curses hurled indiscriminately from both banks 
had little effect. Finally several muleteers waded into the 
river and forming a line across the ford drove the stubborn 
animals through with their furtutire, which are light poles 
with a fork at the top. They are used as their name implies 
(furtusesku, I load, from Gk. (poprctjvco) in loading mules to 
support the baggage already on one side and so prevent the 
pack saddle from turning over while the muleteer loads up the 
other side. All however crossed safely, except two which fell 
in midstream, but as they had no livestock on board no 
damage was done. At 2 p.m. we stopped in a grassy meadow 
on the further bank for a short rest and a meal. The sun had 
now come out and dried our rugs and coats wet with the 
drizzling rain that had been falling all the morning. Three 
hours later a start was made up a long gradual ascent broken 
by a few steep pitches, all now being on foot except a few old 
women and the smallest children. In parts the track was 
wellnigh impassable owing to the mud which in places was 
almost knee deep. Mules slipped and fell in all directions; 


there were frequently two on the ground at the same time. 
Grandmothers crossed themselves with fervour, and muttered 
in Vlach : muleteers loudly made reflections on the parentage 
of their much tried animals, and Andihriste, " Antichrist," 
became the common form of address. Andihristu is the Vlach 
substitute for the Greek xspocrdcg, and like it has an endless 
variety of meanings depending on the facial expression at the 
time. Finally we emerged from the muddy track in the oak 
woods, on to the bare top of the ridge near the little chapel 
of Ayia Paraskevi. Below us about twenty minutes to our 
left was the Kupatshar village of Vodhendzko, and beyond rose 
the craggy ridge of Spileo with the villages of Sharganei, 
Lavdha and Tishta nestling at its foot. To our right to the 
north in a rift in the ridge on which we were, lay the little 
hamlet of Tuzhi. Here for a short space the track was drier, 
but soon after night and rain began to fall, and the path became 
rapidly worse. The climax came when we slid for about half 
an hour down a muddy slope in the dark. The long procession 
was thrown into confusion, and on reaching the bottom where 
we were to camp, several families had become mixed up, and 
some units were separated from their main body. Our own 
party, more by luck than skill, arrived at the bottom together, 
and we had little to do but collect the mules and unload them, 
and then struggle to put up the tent in the wind and rain, first 
choosing a patch of ground that seemed less wet than the 
average. Leaving the women to make things straight we 
strolled over to another family that had arrived before night- 
fall and succeeded in lighting a fire. Comforted by the 
warmth we crept into our own tent, and after a hasty meal of 
bread, cheese and wine got to sleep as best we could. Other 
families fared far worse than ourselves, many were unable to 
erect their tents, others were separated into two or three 
little parties and had to spend the night in the open with next 
to nothing to eat, and only a rug to cover them. When we 
awoke the next morning in this spot which is known as La 
Valko we seemed to be in another country. The night before 
we had been amongst low hills covered with oak woods, but 
now we were in mountain country sprinkled with pines, and 


still rather bleak in appearance, for here spring had only just 
begun. This small valley is a most picturesque spot. On 
either side rise steep pine-clad hills, and down the centre runs 
a small stream that rises immediately below the Morminde 
ridge, of which more anon, joins another flowing from Smiksi, 
and hurries down to the river of Vriashteno. Just below the 
meadow where we camped this valley comes to an abrupt 
end and the stream pours forth between two huge crags that 
stand on either side like sentinels. There another road from 
Ghrevena to Samarina, known as the Kutsokale (The Lame 
Road), passes over the shoulder of the northernmost of the 
Doaua K'etri, The Two Rocks, as these two crags are called. 
But this involves a steep ascent over rough ground in order 
to reach Valko, and so is impossible when travelling wth 
families. Pouqueville refers to these two crags as " Les Deux 
Freres " : this name soimds possible, but we have not heard it 

Thursday, June 2nd. — The morning, when we started 
soon after 6 a.m., was damp and chilly. We immediately 
cross the river opposite the small hamlet of Tshuriaka, and 
follow up the river westwards. After about half an hour 
we pass the khan of Philippei, where the Smiksi families turn 
off up a small valley to the left. Philippei which stands on 
the hill side about half an hour above the khan is a Kupatshar 
village, and in costume the inhabitants approach nearer to 
Samarina than the other Kupatshar villages. The principal 
occupation is sheep rearing. Proceeding up the valley we 
pass a small wayside chapel in a clump of trees in the river 
bed, and some clusters of wild plum trees, which in early 
autumn are yellow with their pleasantly acrid fruit. Another 
hour or more brings us to a long zigzag ascent up to the ridge 
of Morminde, which marks the eastern boundary of Samarina 
territory. We pass the Pade Mushata (Fair Mead), a favourite 
place for families to encamp, and in days gone by the scene 
of more than one brigandage, of which more is said in a later 
chapter. The Pade Mushata deserves its name ; it is a fine 
level space on the mountain slope, cut through here and 
there by rivulets of icy cold water, carpeted with good green 


turf, and in spring and early summer bright with flowers, 
primroses, cowslips, meadowsweet, gentian and cypripedium. 
Arriving at the top we find ourselves on a small saddle that 
joins Ghumara, a large conical mountain covered with pine 
and beech on our left, to the Morminde proper, a long, grassy 
ridge also partially wooded. Immediately before us is 
Gorguru, a fine, rocky arete, still covered with patches of 
snow, and wooded on its lower slopes. Behind GorguFu 
and half hidden in cloud is the triple massif of Zmolku, of 
which only two peaks, Zmolku and Moasha (The Old Woman), 
are visible. Directly in front of us deep down in the valley 
under the summit of Gorgul'u is the junction of two small 
streams, one rising at our feet on the Morminde and separating 
that from Ghumara, the other rising on the col called La Greklu 
near the village of Furka, on the direct road leading from 
Ghrevena to Konitsa, and separating the western extension 
of the Morminde from Gorgul'u. Just above this confluence 
and on the slope below the pine woods of Gorgul'u is Samarina 
itself (Plate V). All eyes were at once turned towards the 
village. Our field glasses were hastily requisitioned, as all 
wanted to see the famous church on which grows a pine tree, 
and also their own homes, the more so since several houses 
collapse every year owing to the heavy snows, and the 
infiltration of water under the foundations. The small col 
of Morminde marks the watershed of North Pindus, for the 
stream by the khan of Philippei flows into the Venetiko, and 
so in time joins the Haliakmon which empties into the gTilf 
of Salonica. The river of Samarina formed by the two 
streams just mentioned joins the Aous a few miles further 
down, and eventually reaches the Adriatic. Half an hour 
beyond the col we camp for a short time, and make a hasty 
lunch. But rain coming on again we hurry on over a cobbled 
track, made by the inhabitants of Samarina from their 
boundary by the wayside shrine on the col of Morminde 
into the village. Here almost every stone and clump of 
trees has its name, for instance a small ravine where there 
is a saw mill is known as La Skordhei, further on below the 
road is a boulder called K'atra N'agra (The Black Stone), one 


in the river bed is K'atra a Bufiui (The Owl's Stone), and a 
riven mass of stone on the hill side is known as K'atra Asparta 
(The Riven Stone). We soon pass a small shrine with a heap 
of horse-shoes by it, where the pious leave coins, and then 
crossing a bridge over the stream from the Greklu ridge, now 
a torrent in full flood, enter Samarina in a deluge of rain. 

A crowd of those who had come up earlier (few families 
had stayed through the winter) came out to meet the new 
arrivals, to hear the latest news from below, and to escort 
relations to their various homes. The house belonging to 
our temporarily adopted family had stood the winter well, so 
we found a shelter waiting for us. Others were less fortunate, 
and one family had to dwell in a house that had only three 
walls left. That evening female relatives of the family with 
whom we were living, brought in as gifts to welcome their 
relations home several pite, a Vlach speciality of which more 
below. The next morning we made our way to the misohori or 
village square, where the market is held, and the village meets 
and talks. 

Such was our journey with Vlach families from Thessaly 
up to their homes in Macedonia. In Samarina alone there are 
each summer over eight hundred families, which with few 
exceptions spend the winter elsewhere, and though all do not 
go so far afield as Tirnavos, still some go yet further, and most 
if not all twice every year in spring and autumn, set out with all 
their belongings on a journey of several days. This semi- 
nomadic life has its effect on the national character, and there 
are some Vlach customs which can be attributed directly to it. 
One minor result which is of practical use, is that it has taught 
the Vlachs, alone of Balkan races, that absolute independence 
in travelling is synonymous with absolute comfort. 


Samarina hoara mare, 
Kathe dzua ka pazare. 

Samarina's big and gay, 
Every day a market day. 

Vlach Song 

WE have already described the position of Samarina 
on the lower slopes of Gorguru. If we look at the 
village from a distance it appears not as a compact 
mass of houses, but as a collection of more or less isolated 
groups of houses scattered over a gentle slope (Plate V). 
This effect is heightened by the fact that almost every house has 
a garden attached to it. Though the lower part of the village 
round the market place is more or less homogeneous, yet in all 
the other parts there are many blank spaces where there are 
no houses nor even gardens. This is partly due to the confor- 
mation of the ground. The hill side on which Samarina is 
built is not firm ground, but consists of a loose shale and 
gravel through which rock crops out here and there. The 
whole of the soil is saturated in the spring by the melting 
snows and the water penetrating beneath the shallow founda- 
tions of the houses causes them to fall. Were there no woods 
above the village to protect it from the torrents formed by 
snow and rain there would be considerable danger that the 
whole slope on which the village stands might slide right into 
the valley below. Curiously enough the four churches are all 
situated on the edge of the village. This is probably due to an 
old Turkish regulation that no church might be built within a 
village. In the centre at the bottom is the church of Great 
St Mary's, Stamaria atsea mare ; on a bluff at the northern 


extremity stands that of Little St Mary's, Stamaria atsean'ika. 
To the south on a ridge cut off from the rest of the village by a 
deep ravine is the church of St Elijah, Aigl'a, below which on the 
other side of the ravine is that of St Athanasius, Ayiu Athanase. 
Before proceeding to describe in detail anything connected 
with Samarina, let us first take a general view of the village. 
The most convenient place to begin is the Pade of the church 
of Great St Mary's (Plate XIV i). The Pade is a large green 
on the south side of the church, opposite to which is the princi- 
pal Greek school, where there is a small library of old editions 
of classical authors bequeathed by a former schoolmaster. In 
the centre of the green is a row of lofty poplars which in the 
summer afford a pleasant shade for the classes held out of 
doors. To the east the edge of the green is enclosed by a low 
stone wall covered on top with short rough planks, a favourite 
place to sit and talk in the evening or on Sunday morning 
after church. Looking down into the valley from the edge 
of the green we see several mills both for grinding corn and 
for washing the woollen fabrics made in the village. Above 
these, as also all round the outskirts, is a network of meadows, 
where hay or clover is grown. Above them are a few houses 
with gardens dotted with plum, cherry and apple trees. If 
we turn our eyes further afield we can survey the wooded 
height of Ghumara to our right, or to our left the Morminde 
and the long ridge that leads from it to Samarina. We can 
see on it our road from Ghrevena, and keen eyes will pick 
out what muleteers or families are coming up. But let us 
walk through the village. We turn to the west and make 
for the principal entrance to the green leaving on our right 
behind the campanile of the church the large tall house of the 
Besh family, one of the landmarks of the village. In the 
same corner is the Shoput di la Stamaria, the conduit of 
St Mary. Samarina possesses some fifteen or more similar 
conduits in different quarters, so that the inhabitants never 
have to go far for water. To most of the conduits as with 
this one, the water is brought in wooden pipes carved out of 
pine trunks from springs on the hill side above. All along 
the course of the pipe line are wooden traps to facilitate 


repairs or cleaning. Only a few conduits are built over a 
spring on the spot, and the water of these is considered the 
best. We next pass a willow tree with a wooden platform 
built round it where there are benches for those who patronise 
the small cafe opposite. Then we enter a narrow road roughly 
paved with cobbles and havmg on one side a small artificial 
stream which is used to irrigate the gardens below. On our 
left we notice some ruins in a garden and more on our right ; 
these are the remains of houses burnt by Leonidha. Passing 
one on each side the shops of two blacksmiths and knife 
makers we cross by a wooden bridge the Valitshe, a small 
rivulet which runs through the middle of the village, supplies 
water for irrigation purposes, and is a receptacle for rubbish 
of all kinds. Above on our left are two tailor's shops, and 
beyond them a sweet shop with a crowd of small children 
about it. On our right we pass more shops including one 
of the general stores of Samarina, where one can buy any 
non-edible necessary of life, such as lead pencils, cottons, 
aniline dyes, mirrors, silks and soap. Beyond this our road 
narrows suddenly between two houses, we turn sharply to 
the left and find ourselves in the Misohori, usually known 
as La Hani This is the market and meeting place of Samarina 
(Plate VI). It is a roughly triangular space paved with cobbles, 
and not more than a hundred yards long. In the middle 
are a large willow and a small cherry tree. The earth round 
their stems is banked up with stones so as to form a narrow 
platform about three feet high which makes convenient show 
benches for the muleteers to display for sale the goods they 
have brought up. Here we shall find muleteers offering 
petroleum from the railway at Sorovitsh, olives from Avlona 
or Volos, red wine from Shatishta, vegetables such as onions, 
green peppers, vegetable marrows and beans from Tshotili, 
fruit, cherries, pears or apples from the Kupatshar villages, 
and wheat from Kozhani or Monastir. What is not sold is 
not removed at night, but covered up in case of a chance 
shower, and watched by two or three muleteers who sleep 
on the sacks of grain wrapped in their goat's hair capes. 
Round La Hani are the principal cafes and food shops, and 


also the one primitive inn where the stranger may stay if he 
wishes. But Samarina is so hospitable that it considers it 
disgraceful that any respectable stranger should be forced to 
lodge at the inn and not be invited to stay in a private house. 
In front of each food shop is a long wooden trough on four 
legs about three feet high. This is lined with tin and filled 
with glowing charcoal over which lambs are roasted whole on 
a wooden spit. The roast meat is afterwards cut up and 
sold in joints. Muleteers when they return to Samarina often 
collect in the evening at one of these shops and discuss to- 
gether two or three pounds of roast meat and as much \vine 
as they please. On the other smaller spits of iron the lamb's 
fry will be roasted and sold as a kind of hors d'ceuvre to be 
consumed with a glass or two of raid. If it be evening we may 
find K'ibdk'i also roasting on an iron spit. Should any one 
wish to celebrate some occurrence he will invite his friends 
to join in K'ibdk'i one evening. K'ihdk'i are small portions of 
meat; and are made by hacking up two or three pounds of 
mutton with a haltaki. \\Tien they are ready roasted the 
party will take them to the back room of the shop and make 
merry with meat, bread and wine, finishing the evening with 
dancing. This is the usual way of spending any penitadha 
left by departing friends. The custom is that any one on his 
departure from Samarina should leave behind with the friends 
who come to see him off, a sum of money called penitadha, 
which may vary from a humble five piastres to one or two 
pounds, for them to make merry with as they please after his 
departure. Some will betake themselves to a sweet shop and 
consume a pound or two of Baklava, a favourite Turkish 
sweetmeat made of thin pastry strewTi with almonds or walnuts 
and drenched with honey. Others will make a night of it in 
La Ha7ii with K'ibdk'i, with music and with dancing. Between 
the food shops there are also several wooden cobbler's booths 
with a kind of veranda outside where the apprentices sit and 
work. Practically every young muleteer learns a trade, and 
often in the summer instead of going about with his father 
and the mules will sit at his trade in Samarina, cobbling, 
tailoring or carpentering as the case may be. La Hani as 



the centre of the village is naturally the place where all roads to 
it meet. From the north-east corner goes a road which leads 
over a wooden bridge across the Valitshe, past a couple of 
food shops and a row of booths where tailors and cobblers 
work, below a mill and so to the bridge over the stream from 
La Greklu and into the Ghrevena road. The Yannina road 
leaves at the northern corner by a cafe and then for a short 
distance runs between cafes, food shops and sweet shops. One 
of these cafes is kept by a deaf and dumb man reputed the 
best barber in Samarina. Curiously enough the keeper of a 
cafe often combines these two trades, and some will further 
undertake to cure toothache by the application of pitch. 
Next is a small open space by the Shoput al Bizha round 
which are several more shops including yet another general 
store. Leaving this on the left the road goes straight on, 
then turns to the right by another sweet shop, passes the 
conduit called La Penda not far from the house of the Hadzhi- 
bira family to which Leonidha belonged, crosses a small 
stream below a mill and ascends a steep pitch on the top of 
which is a small green called Mermishaklu, a favourite walk 
in the evening, where boys and young men collect to play 
games. The Yannina road runs below the topmost part of 
Mermishaklu, along some meadows enclosed by stone walls or 
wooden fences to the Shoput al Sakelariu whence it follows the 
valley leading up to the Greklu ridge. 

From the southern corner another road leads off past two 
cafes to the Shoput al Papazisi (Plate XX i) which derives 
its water from a spring on the spot and is reputed to yield the 
best and coldest water. Thence the road slants up the hill 
leaving the church of Ayiu Athanase below it, passes several 
mills, and runs round a deep ravine where is the Shoput di t 
Vale, and climbs the other side to where stands the church of 
Aigl'a in a grove of tall pines. The school attached to this 
church is that used by the Roumanian party. Hence the 
road runs along the hill side to the monastery for about half 
an hour through woods of pine and stunted beech, amongst 
which are open spaces carpeted with bracken and wild straw- 
berries. From the monastery the road goes on to Briaza and 


so through Baieasa to Yannina and Metsovo, or through 
Armata to Konitsa. 

There is yet another road leaving on the western side and 
leading up the hill. It starts between a sweet shop and a 
food shop, and then zigzags up the hill side in a space bare of 
houses leaving some distance to the left the large house which 
served as a Turkish gendarmerie station. We next reach a 
level space on the top of the steep pitch just ascended which 
is called Gudrumitsa. On our left is a low wooden sweet shop 
which is a favourite place for young men to forgather in the 
evening. They sit at the shop front consuming sweets and 
looking at the view, especially observing the Ghrevena road 
to see who is coming up. Behind this shop is a large stone- 
built house with a courtyard in front surrounded by a high 
stone wall (Plate XVI i) which was the scene of the treacher- 
ous seizure of the robber chieftains in 1881 described below. 
We turn round to the left by this house leaving on our right 
another road that leads north towards Little St Mary's. We 
go along a flat space for some little distance till we reach 
another conduit, below which on our left is a kind of natural 
amphitheatre containing a few houses and gardens and in its 
centre the small shrine of Ayios Kosmas, supposed to mark 
the spot where he preached. From the conduit just men- 
tioned we bear away to the left towards the ravine that cuts 
off the ridge of Aigl'a from the rest of the village. On the 
bank of the ravine by the road is the Shoput al Dabura also 
fed by a spring which rises just by it and is considered by some 
to supply better water even than Papazisi. Directly beyond 
we cross the ravine by a well-built wooden bridge and reach 
the group of houses inhabited by the Dabura family. Hence 
the road goes slanting gradually up the bare side of Gorgul'u 
into the bottom of the pine wood, climbs over the shoulder of 
the ridge and dips sharply down into the Vale Kama where 
there are five saw mills. The Vale Kama (Snubnose Valley) 
is a deep rift cut into the central mass of Zmolku. Its head 
lies midway between the bases of the peaks known as Zmolku 
and Moasha, and the torrent that runs down it is fed by the few 
patches of perpetual snow that lie in deep clefts on the eastern 


foot of Zmolku and by one or two springs that burst out of the 
rocks at a great height and shooting down over the precipices 
are appropriately called Apa Spindzurata, the Hanging Water. 
On the far side of the Vale Kama is the boundary between the 
territories of Samarina and Armata, towards which latter 
village a difficult track leads from the saw mills. 

Some thirty years ago the deep ravine which now separates 
the ridge of Aigl'a from the rest of the village was a small, in- 
significant stream and then the woods of Gorgul'u, known as 
K'urista came right down to the upper edge of the village itself. 
Then too the Morminde ridge and Ghumara were thick with 
pines and saw mills worked near the monastery. But they 
cut the trees recklessly and wastefully, and allowed sheep and 
goats to be pastured in the cleared areas, so that young pines 
had no chance of coming to maturity even in this hill country 
so well adapted for their rapid growth. So the destruction 
proceeded till the slope of GorguFu was bare, and then came 
retribution. The trees being away the melting snow and the 
heavy rains descended unchecked on Samarina, threatened to 
sweep away the village, and carved out the deep ravine already 
mentioned destroying houses and gardens. Not till then did 
Samarina awake to its danger and so some fifteen or twenty 
years ago it was decreed that no one should cut trees in K'urista 
or pasture any beasts of any kind there under pain of heavy 
fines. Since then the wood has grown up thick and strong, the 
destruction has been averted and pines will in time reclothe 
the slopes of Gorgul'u. From the upper edge of Samarina to 
the bottom of the K'urista woods is about a quarter of an 
hour's easy walk up a gentle slope, now scarred with gravelly 
streamlets where formerly, before the cutting of the timber, 
there were grassy meadows. Arriving at the lower edge of 
the woods we climb a small bluff and dive into the pines where 
we find in a little basin of verdure an icy cold spring. This 
spring is known to Samarina as The Spring, Fandana, and is a 
favourite place for picnics and merrymaking at festivals. 
There is room to dance, the pines give shade for sleep, and 
from the edge of the bluff one can survey the whole of Samarina 
together with the Morminde and Ghumara. 


Only a few families remain at Samarina throughout the 
winter. Some of these stay by arrangement to act as guards 
in the empty village, others especially those who own saw 
mills stop to look after their business. Recently owing to the 
general rise in the cost of living other families have taken to 
remaining in the village. This is done to save the cost of two 
long mule journeys in the autumn and spring, and to escape 
the necessity of paying rent for the house in the town where 
they winter. But in these cases the husband and the elder 
sons if they have trades which they practise, will go alone 
to the towns in the plains for the winter leaving their 
wives and families behind. The principal towns of Epirus, 
Thessaly and Macedonia and even of Southern Albania receive 
each winter detachments of Samarina folk. They may be 
found in Yannina, Dhelvino, Berat, Ghrevena, Hrupishta, 
Shatishta, Kozhani, Elassona, Kalabaka, Trikkala, Kardhitsa, 
Larissa and Tirnavos. Of the latter towns Kardhitsa has two 
hundred, Trikkala three hundred, Tirnavos one hundred, and 
Larissa a hundred and fifty families. But in addition to these 
many winter at Tsaritsani or in the villages of the Potamia dis- 
trict near Elassona such as Vlakhoyianni ; and in villages near 
Larissa such as Tatar or Makrikhori several are to be found. 
But this does not of course exhaust the towns whither the 
men of Samarina go to winter, for they may be seen at Philipp- 
iadha, Katerini, Salonica or even in Athens itself. It often 
happens that in the town, where they winter, many gradually 
settle down and in course of time intermarry with the lowland 
Greeks and so after one or two generations become completely 
hellenized. Such are to be found all over Thessaly in the 
towns mentioned, and also in Almiros and Volos. Elsewhere 
they are to be found in Yannina and Athens, and in Shatishta 
and Kozhani in which two latter towns the hellenized Vlachs 
form the strongest part of the Greek population. In times past 
emigration from Samarina on a large scale has taken place to 
Verria, Katerini and Niausta, but this is dealt with below. 

As to the population of the village it is naturally exceedingly 
difficult to form an estimate, since it varies greatly from year 
to year. Pouqueville our earliest authority says it contained 


eight hundred famiHes, but he does not seem to have ever been 
in the village. Aravandinos whose book was published in 
1857 gives seven hundred families. Weigand an impartial 
authority says that in 1887 there were no more than three 
thousand present in the village. But as we shall see below 
there were special reasons just at that time why the Samarina 
families in Thessaly did not go up for the summer. The 
official Roumanian account of the Vlach communities in 
Macedonia says that the population varies from four thousand 
five hundred to six thousand. To-day the village numbers 
some eight hundred houses and during the three summers 
(1910-1912) that we spent there many houses were re-built 
and some new ones erected. Thus the population seemed 
likely to continue to increase provided no serious political 
disturbance occurred to check it, as has happened recently 
since the autumn of 1912. In 1911 some thirty houses were 
built, and all the eight hundred were inhabited, some by more 
than one family. Consequently we believe that in the height 
of the season in July and August there must have been at least 
five thousand souls in the village. Many do not reside for 
the whole summer, but come up for a month only. Against 
the natural increase of the population has to be set the loss 
continually caused by the settlement of famiHes in the towns of 
the plains, the wandering of the young men in search of work 
in their trades and emigration to America. The recent increase 
in the population between 1908 and 1912 was perhaps due 
more to the improved political conditions, for in those years 
several families were beginning to come up for the summer, 
a thing which many of them had not done for long years 

On the whole life at Samarina, as noted long ago by Pou- 
queville, is hardly taken in a serious spirit, and the four summer 
months during which the village is gathered together each 
year are looked upon by young and old alike as a time to be 
spent mainly in enjoyment. At the same time business and 
work are by no means neglected, for most bring up with them 
all the appliances for carrying on their trades, and those who 
abandon the shops or whatever their work may be, and come 


up purely for a holiday can rarely afford to remain for the 
whole time. The earliest day for families to start to go up 
to Samarina is St George's day, April 23rd (May 6th N.S.), 
when the shepherds first leave the plains on their way up to 
their summer camping grounds near their native villages. 
But the time when the bulk of the ordinary trading folk go 
up is at the end of May, in time for the fair of St Akhillios 
at Ghrevena, the first of the great festivals that mark the 
full summer season. The end of the full season is marked by 
the lesser festival of St Mary on September 8th (September 
2ist N.S.) after which the ordinary people begin to leave the 
village. The shepherds stay on till the day of St Demetrius, 
October 26th (November 8th N.S.) on which day they start 
to go down to their winter quarters. From then till next 
St George's day the village is all but deserted and inhabited 
only by those who have made up their minds to spend the 
winter there either as guards or for other reasons. The 
course of the full summer season between the fair of 
St Akhillios and St Mary the Less, as the festival is called, 
is marked by three great feasts which divide it into four 
sections of about equal length, and those who are unable to 
come up for the whole summer, will arrange their work so 
as to be able to spend one of these divisions between two 
festivals in their native village. The first feast is that of the 
Holy Apostles, St Peter and St Paul, on June 29th (July 12th 
N.S.). Next comes the festival of St Elijah (Aigl'a or Sand 
Iliu) on July 20th (August 2nd N.S.). Then on August 15th 
(August 28th N.S.) is the great annual festival of the Assump- 
tion, the festival of St Mary (Stamarie) the patroness of Sama- 
rina. This all truly patriotic natives of Samarina endeavour 
to attend, and if they can come up at no other time during 
the summer they will come for a week at Stamarie. At it 
the year's weddings are celebrated, the village dances are 
held on the green of the great church of Stamaria (Plate IV 2) 
and in the days succeeding it betrothals are made for next 
year. Between this day and the lesser festival of St Mary 
there is, as all Samarina folk boast, more merrymaking than 
in the whole of the rest of summer put together. Apart from 


these great festivals when all work is of course in abeyance and 
the whole village gives itself up to amusement there are several 
minor festivals detailed on a later page and various smaller 
social functions of everyday occurrence. Amongst them a 
system of paying calls seems especially characteristic of Vlach 
life. A call can be made at almost any hour either in the morn- 
ing or afternoon, and on any day, but a Sunday or a holiday is 
more normal. One rarely goes alone to pay such calls, but 
four or more go together. On entering the house they are 
welcomed by the householder and his famity, and leaving 
their shoes on the threshold, if they are dressed in the Vlach 
national costume, are invited to sit on the rugs laid either on 
the built wooden bench running round the wall of the living- 
room or on the floor in the place of honour on either side of the 
hearth. Recently, since Samarina has possessed an expert 
joiner, chairs have begun to take their place among household 
luxuries and as seats of honour especially for those dressed 
ci la Franca, for it is asserted not without truth that those 
who wear trousers find it uncomfortable to sit with crossed 
legs tailorwise on the floor. When all are seated cigarettes 
are passed round and then the usual refreshments are brought 
in on a tray and handed round by the wife or elder daughter. 
They consist of a spoonful of jam or a lump of Turkish Delight, 
a glass of raki or some similar liqueur and a cup of Turkish 
coffee. No native of Samarina is so poor or so lacking in 
dignity as not to offer any stranger who calls on him at least a 
lump of Turkish Delight and a glass of wine. Hospitality is 
the keynote of Vlach life and the stranger is quickly made to 
feel at home, if he is prepared to enjoy simple comforts. A 
whole day is sometimes spent in such calls, and on arrival in 
a village the traveller is usually taken round from house to 
house to make the acquaintance of the chief inhabitants. The 
noticeable feature about these functions is the part played by 
women. Vlach women, unlike women in a Greek village, are 
treated by the men with far greater respect and in some cases 
almost as equals. The women pay calls like the men and 
both converse together freely. On the other hand the women 
rarely and apparently never as a regular habit eat with the 


men of a family. This is probably mainly a matter of 
convenience, since the women do the cooking, and does not 
necessarily imply any idea of inferiority. To a certam extent 
girls are kept secluded in that fashion dictates that they should 
not be seen out of doors unaccompanied by a brother, first 
cousin, or some elderly relation such as an uncle, aunt or 
one of their parents. This rule does not apply when they go 
to the spring for water or to the river to wash clothes. Further 
at dances at weddings and festivals no young men are allowed 
to dance with girls other than their sisters or first cousins who 
are blood relations according to the canons of the Greek church. 
But whole families will go out for picnics together and in general 
both sexes meet as equals. The superior status of women, 
which strikes one forcibly on coming from a Greek to a Vlach 
village, is probably due to a difference in marriage customs. 
In Greece it is the common thing for a man to be at home 
on his name-day to all his friends and relations, and 
Greeks in the villages are sometimes in the habit of paying 
calls on Sundays. But the fully developed social system as 
regards calling which the Vlachs possess is, as far as our know- 
ledge goes, totally unknown in Greece. Further the Vlach 
custom according to which a whole village or parish is at 
home to everybody else on the festival of the parish church is, 
we believe, peculiar to Vlachs. The freer social life of the 
Vlachs, partly due to frequent travels, gives them in this 
respect better manners and a broader outlook on life. Conse- 
quently the Vlach women never become what the Greek 
village women so often are, drudges in the houses of their 
husbands, who often deem them little better than cook- 

A frequent form of entertaining is lunching in the pine 
woods, especially in K'urista at the Fandana. This is the 
favourite spot at Samarina for a picnic, but every Vlach 
village has its special place which must be provided with an 
ice cold spring, smooth green turf for dancmg and a few 
pines to give shade. The food at such an outing is always 
supplied by a lamb which should be killed, roasted and eaten 
on the spot. The lamb is dressed and placed on a wooden 


spit to roast over a fire of pine branches, and by its side the 
fry is set to roast on an iron spit. The latter is naturally 
done first, and is eaten as a kind of hors d'ocuvre accompanied 
by glasses of raki. Then the lamb itself is devoured with 
bread, garlic and wine. Next, perhaps, a large tin dish of 
some sweetmeat such as Baklava will be divided amongst the 
company. Finally all will dance and sing accompanied by 
such musical instruments as it has been possible to collect. The 
dancers will only interrupt their wild gyrations to drink one 
another's health in the good red wine of Shatishta or to fire 
off rifles and revolvers by way of shewing that they are 
thoroughly enjoying themselves. 

Vlach feeding as a whole differs so much from the usual 
fare to be obtained in the other villages of Macedonia, Epirus 
and Greece proper, that a short digression may here be allowed. 
In contrast to the Greeks who as a race live principally on 
bread, olives, cheese and garlic, and eat little meat and that 
highly seasoned and disguised with sauces, the Vlachs think 
plain roast meat, hot or cold, in large quantities essential to 
any meal worthy the name. Even the muleteer as he jogs 
along his weary road always has a snack of cold lamb, bread 
and cheese washed down by long pulls at his wooden flask or 
wine skin. It requires some little skill to drink gracefull}^ 
from a full wine skm while ambling along on mule-back. The 
triumph of Vlach cooking however is Piid, which may be 
considered the Vlach national dish. A pita is a kind of pasty 
made in a wide, shallow, metal dish which has a hollow, conical 
metal lid of great importance for the proper baking of the 
pita. When the pita is made the dish is placed on an iron 
tripod over a wood fire on the open hearth and then the lid 
which has been previously heated and covered with a thick 
layer of ashes to retain the heat is placed over it so that both 
top and bottom may be baked equally. The pita itself is 
made by laying four or more thin leaves of pastry in the 
bottom of the dish, on which a thick central layer of vege- 
tables, cheese or finely chopped meat is placed. The whole 
is then covered over with about six more leaves of the thin 
pastry, all of which are generously anointed with butter and 


occasionally small lumps of cheese. All kinds of pita are 
good, but perhaps the best is that made with leeks, nettles 
or some similar vegetable. For some obscure reason this 
dish is practically confined to the Vlachs, and is rarely to be 
seen in any Greek \dllage. A variety of pita is known in 
Roumania, but pita to be really good must be made of freshly 
rolled pastry and must be baked in its special dish and not 
in an oven. Other foods to be met with are various kinds of 
vegetables, and the usual kinds made from milk such as cheeses 
and yiaurti which the Vlachs call mdrcatu. But these latter 
are not peculiarly Vlach, and are common to all Balkan 
peoples who are shepherds. 

An invitation to dinner in a Vlach house always means 
that the guest is expected to stay the night. For instance 
one of the writers during a few days' stay at Elassona in the 
winter spent each night in a different house owing to the 
hospitable invitations of friends from Samarina who were 
wintering there. This system of sleeping where one dines 
has given rise to a custom peculiar to the women. On 
Saturday nights after the week's work is over — for the women 
of the family do all the household work — the mother or one of 
the daughters will often be invited to go and spend the night 
with a cousin, married sister or friend. Such invitations may 
also be given on Sunday nights, but in all cases the person 
so invited must return to her own home at dawn the next 
morning. This custom is commoner amongst the unmarried 
than the married women. It is perhaps due to the desire 
of the girls to see something of one another, for being 
kept in comparative seclusion and being engaged in the 
work of the house they have few opportunities of meet- 
ing on ordinary days. The custom is known as going 

The Vlachs have a reputation for heavy drinking and of 
all Pindus villages Samarina is generally considered to drink 
more than the others. Our experience hardly bears this out, 
and as far as we could see a Vlach village as regards drinking 
is much like any other christian village in the Balkans. Ap- 
parently in recent years a succession of bad seasons has 


brought about a rise in the price of wine and with it a decrease 
in the amount drunk. It cannot however be denied that in 
the summer at Samarina a great quantity of wine is drunk, 
but there is really very little habitual drunkenness. On the 
whole one may say with a fair amount of truth that the Vlach 
drinks more than his neighbours, but since he loses his temper 
less and does not use a knife at the slightest excuse and in 
fact is often without one, the result is less obvious. As can 
be gathered from the description of the village given above 
Samarina possesses several cafes and these are on the whole 
well patronised. But among the Vlachs the confirmed cafe 
loafer, a common Levantine type, who possesses the art of 
sitting down from early morning to sunset with one interval 
at noon for a meal and sleep, is rarely if ever seen. The Vlach 
who has nothing to do will walk about or go outside the village 
and sit on the hill side. The Greek idea of happiness lies in 
town life, and the wealthy provincial Greek who can live 
where he pleases prefers a house in the main street near to 
the chief cafe. The idea of a country house does not as yet 
exist, and few owners of large farms will live for choice on 
their properties, and will only rarely visit them. In this 
case however fear of brigands, especially in Thessaly, the part 
of Greece where large estates are most common, has been 
largely responsible. Still the country Greek of any class, 
with very few exceptions, would always vote for town life 
with its cafes and theatres. The ideal of the Vlach on the 
other hand is the life of the open road or country, up in the 
hills away from the plains and towns. Pines and beeches, 
which in the Balkans only grow in the hills, mountains, plenty 
of cold water, but only for drinking purposes, a fine open 
view and large flocks of sheep play a very large part in the 
Vlach ideal. A difference in temperament between Vlach 
and Greek comes out in many minor points. A Vlach has 
the quieter manner of speech, a comparative absence of gesticu- 
lation, and a lack of that excessive curiosity which especially 
in financial matters is so typical of the Greeks. He is also 
less hot-tempered and takes the small inconveniences of life 
in a more calm and tranquil frame of mind ; there is a lack 


of self-assertion and no race perhaps in the Balkans is more 
easily absorbed by others. 

A similar difference can be seen in forms of amusement. 
Games of a vigorous type are not really known in Greece 
though a few have recently been imported and football is 
attempted at certain schools. The great aim of the Greek 
schoolboy in the town is to acquire a slow and staid gait, 
and even in the country he shows no desire for exercise. In 
a Vlach village however vigorous games which men as well 
as boys can play, are a normal amusement. These games 
are indeed crude, but they contain the main idea that all 
concerned should do something violent and that frequently. 
The reader may perhaps think this distinction exaggerated 
seeing the gymnastic training given in Greek schools with a 
view to winning successes at the Panhellenic games. But 
Panhellenic games and gymnastics of all kinds are still an 
artificial revival in Modern Greece, and are not as yet really 
native. The authors after many years' travel in all parts of 
Greece have only once seen a village game in progress and 
there as it turned out the population was entirely Vlach. On 
another occasion the authors spent five days in an up-country 
quarantine station on the Graeco-Turkish frontier where those 
undergoing quarantine consisted of Greeks, Vlachs and Turks. 
The Vlachs killed time by playing games, at which the Greeks 
looked on in the intervals of card playing and cigarette smok- 
ing. The five commonest Vlach games are the following. 
First comes that called Muma ku Preftlu (The Mother with the 
Priest). One of the players sits down on the ground in the 
middle and another stands up behind him holding tightly by 
his collar or some other portion of his garments. The other 
players circle round running in and out, and try to smack 
the one sitting down as hard as they can on the head or 
shoulders without getting hit by the watcher. The watcher 
jumps about round the seated person, of whom he must not 
let go, and tiies to hit one of the others with his foot — before 
beginning the players slip off their shoes — anywhere, but on 
the hand which does not count. He who is hit must then 
take the post of the watcher who takes the place of the one 


sitting down. When this game is played by ten or a dozen 
young men the fun is fast and furious, and the great delight 
of all is to wait for a favourable opportunity to spring upon 
the watcher's back and bring him to the ground. He who 
does this is for the time being safe according to the rules and 
the others can rush in and buffet the seated player as they 
please, till the watcher can resume his station. Another 
favourite is that known as ku Gdmila (With the Camel). One 
player bends forward, another comes behind him and also 
bends down clutching the first round the waist, behind the 
second come two or three more in a similar position. Another 
is chosen as watcher and he, undoing his long sash, fastens 
one end to the waist of the last of the four bending down, and 
holds the other end himself driving this unwieldy camel 
about. The members of the other side dart in and out first 
on one side and then on the other, each attempting to elude 
the watcher and jump on the camel's back, a proceeding 
which most likely will bring all to the ground in inextricable 
confusion. The watcher in the meantime runs about as far 
on either side as the length of the sash allows and tries to hit 
one of the others with his foot. If he succeeds the other 
side have to make up a camel and the one hit becomes the 
watcher. In this game too hits upon the hand do not count. 
The third most popular game is that called Stun Gutso, which 
will be recognised as a Greek name meaning At the Lame 
Man. The players divide into two parties and mark out with 
stones a space which in area is probably equal to about a 
quarter of a lawn-tennis court. At one point on the edge of 
this a sort of base is marked off. In the base the players of 
one side stand while the others move freely about the rest of 
the space marked off. Then those in the base each in turn 
come hopping about the rest of the area and try to hit one 
of the others with foot or hand anywhere, but on their hands. 
The hopper must not change the foot on which he hops nor 
must he put his foot to the ground. If he breaks this rule 
his innings is over and another member of the side takes his 
place and so on till all have had an innings or till all the other 
party have been caught. The side in the field may run and 


dodge where and how they please within the marked area, 
but if they move outside it they count as caught. WTien one 
side has finished its innings as the hopping side, the other goes 
in and the winning side is the one which has caught most of 
its opponents. If all one side are caught the winners say 
that they hdgard samaru (have put a saddle) upon them, 
meaning thereby that their opponents are httle better than 
mules or donkeys. This indignity the losers have to wash 
out by standing treat with sweets or some other refreshment. 
Other common games are leapfrog known as skamnakia, 
another Greek name meaning small stools, and a game con- 
sisting in a competition to see who can jump furthest after 
giving two hops from a marked starting-point. This which is 
called Arsarire la Treil'a (Leaping the Third) is a more energetic 
game than it sounds, and a short run is allowed. These are 
the games most usually played by the boys of Samarina, but 
of course not the only ones. 

Of all forms of amusement dancing is the most usual. 
Apart from the big festivals when the great village dances 
take place and weddings which are marked by much rather 
ceremonial dancing, picnics and most entertainments end 
with a dance. To the unskilled eye the dances are of the 
usual South Balkan type, but a little study shows that Vlach 
dances, although probably none of them can be considered as 
peculiarly Vlach, may be divided into two classes. The first 
class are the ring dances at the great village festivals when the 
greater part of the population will join in (Plate IV 2). Some 
Vlach villages, for instance Turia, hold such dances every 
Sunday through the summer. These village dances consist 
of two or more rings in which all join hands and move round 
slowly in a circle. The leader of the ring, the man on the 
extreme right, is the only one who indulges in any elaborate 
or vigorous step, for the others merely follow him round imi- 
tating his steps in a slow and solemn manner. The first or 
inner ring consists only of men, and the second or outer ring 
consists of women. However many rings there may be they 
always come in this order, and the sexes are always kept 
apart. In such dances the number of performers is limited 


only by the number of rings it is possible to make up in the 
space available. On such occasions even the leader will 
refrain from being too elaborate or energetic in his steps, for 
the village dances are always to some extent of a ceremonial 
nature. The only occasion on which the two sexes dance 
together in the same ring is in the solemn dance at a wedding 
in which the whole bridal party takes part when the newly 
married pair come out of the church at the end of the service. 
This dance which is always performed directly outside the 
church door is fully described below. The other class of dances 
are those in vogue at the feasting before and after a wedding 
and at all other entertainments. Here too there is a formal 
system to be followed. The bridegroom or host will invite 
two men to dance, for only men dance with men and women 
with women, except in the case of brothers and sisters and 
first cousins, and at weddings when any of the men holding 
official positions may invite the bride to dance. The two 
men will stand up in the centre of the company opposite one 
another and dance a singasto, which like most of the names of 
Vlach dances is said to be a corruption of a Greek name. 
At first the two dancers pace solemnly and slowly backwards 
and forwards in front of one another, then as the music is 
gradually played faster and faster they begin to twirl round 
and jump about moving about the room, but always keeping 
in front of one another. This being over the two hold hands 
and dance a ring dance together, first one leading and then 
another the other. Thus each pair that is invited to dance 
goes in all through three separate dances. When they begin 
the ring dances the leader can call upon the musicians to 
play whatever kind of dance he prefers, as a rule the one he 
thinks he can dance best. The skill of the leader in the ring 
dances is not shewn by his following the regular steps accu- 
rately, but in the number and beauty of the variations he can 
introduce. Since, as a mocker might say, these variations 
usually consist in prancing about on one leg or in whirling 
wildly round, it will be seen that to do this in time with the 
music demands considerable adroitness. But the local critics 
do not approve of wild dancing, even prancing and whirling 


about must be done decently and in order. The quieter kinds 
of ring dances are the Serha and the Vulghariko (Bulgarian), 
and the more energetic dances are those known as the Tshamh, 
the Arvanitovlakhiko and the Karahatatiko, which are re- 
puted to be of Albanian origin, and certainly the Tshamh 
takes its name from the part of Albania between Tepeleni 
and Yannina known to the Greeks as Tshamurid. Women 
of course do not dance these energetic dances ; the ring dance 
usually performed by them is the Sirto, supposed to be de- 
rived from the Ancient Greek dance of the same name. This 
is a slow and stately dance, but rather dreary. A ring of 
women dancing the sirto to the tune of a monotonous song 
sung slowly in their wailing voices always has an effect of 
weird melancholy. All the dances are of an elementary three- 
step type, and the variations introduced are mere adornments 
to suit individual taste, but the sirto has few if any variations. 
In Samarina and apparently in most large villages local talent 
is easily capable of providing music which is taught at the 
higher grade schools. At weddings and festivals and other 
important occasions itinerant musicians are employed (Plate 
XVII). It is worth noting that among the Vlachs such 
musicians whatever their race, and they are now usually 
Greeks, are invariably spoken of as Gipsies, just as the Greeks 
call all shepherds Vlachs. There do not seem ever to have 
been any local native musical instruments, at least if such 
were ever employed for producing dance music they have 
totally disappeared. The itinerant musicians and the local 
talent use European instruments. A band of itinerant 
musicians consists at least of three performers, the leader 
with a clarionet, a fiddler, and a boy with a drum or cymbal 
to accentuate the time for the guidance of the dancers. A 
band may consist of more, but the leader is always the one 
who has the clarionet and acts as conductor beating time for 
the others by waving about his head and clarionet as he plays. 
When music cannot be procured, singing takes its place and 
this probably was the original custom. The shepherds who 
are natural and good dancers always dance to songs and have 
no native instrument of their own except flutes, which they 


do not use for dance music. The probability that there were 
never any local musical instruments is strengthened by the 
fact that as a rule at the big village dances all dance to certain 
well-kno^^^l songs only. The great annual dance at Samarina 
at the festival of the Assumption is known as Tsheatshlu from 
the song to which it is danced. Further at the ceremonial 
dance performed by the bridal party, when the newly married 
pair come out of the church, the musicians are driven away 
for the time being and the party dance to songs only. The 
music is of the usual Levantine type which is familiar to any 
who have heard the droning folk songs of Greece and the 
Balkans. As to how far any particular dance can be assigned 
to any one race we cannot say, probably none are really 
Vlach ; but there seems to be a consensus of opinion, at least 
locally, that certain dances are Albanian. 


Branlu larg, tsipunea lunga 
Shi katshula fara funda. 

His sash too wide, his coat too long, his fez without a tassel. 

Vlach S >ng 

ALTHOUGH it may be said that the Vlachs of Samarina 
have a national costume, yet even this has been subject 
to changes of fashion, and curiously enough the men's 
dress seems to have been more affected by this than the 
women's. But bachelors perhaps are not well adapted for 
understanding the mysteries of fashion in regard to the dress of 
women. The typical dress of the Vlach is that regularly 
worn by shepherds and muleteers, and as a rule by all the 
men who have not adopted European costume. In the follow- 
ing account we will first describe a simple, everyday costume 
such as is worn by the young muleteer in Plate VII 3, and 
then shew how this may be made more elaborate and elegant 
for Sundays and festivals. Over a thick flannel vest a man 
will put on a long, full shirt reaching to the knees, called 
kdmeashd. This is of printed cotton usually pale blue or 
grey in colour, and has a square skirt fully pleated in front 
and quite plain behind. The result of the pleating is that a 
man, when fully dressed, seems to be wearing a variety of 
kilt or fustanella which is really the skirt of his shirt. It is 
quite likely that the Albanian fustanella, which was adopted 
by the Greeks after their liberation in 1821 as their national 
costume, is a development of this pleated shirt. The shirt 
may have narrow sleeves buttoned at the wrist or full loose 
sleeves, but this depends on whether a waistcoat with or 








without sleeves is to be worn. On his legs he puts a pair of 
homespun leggings reaching to the middle of the thighs and 
called tshoaritsl. These are tied round below the knees with 
garters, kdltsuvetsi, and bound at the bottom with braid. 
This braiding is a great feature of the Vlach garments and 
though in appearance like braid is really an embroidered 
edge made by needlework with a very narrow kind of silken 
braid. Consequently the better the clothes the more braiding 
there is, for to make it well requires much expenditure of 
time, money and skill. The great point of the leggings is 
that they should fit tightly to the calf so as to shew the 
leg to the best advantage, and neatly round the ankle rather 
like a spat. Next comes a double-breasted waistcoat of jean 
with or without sleeves according to the type of shirt worn. 
This, which is called dzhihadane, fits very tightly across the 
chest and is fastened with hooks and eyes. Over this is worn 
a garment of homespun like a frock-coat that reaches to the 
knees, but does not meet in front and has no sleeves. This 
is called tsipunc and is girt round the waist with a leather belt 
over which is wound a long woollen sash known as hrdnu. 
This is the universal foundation of the Vlach male costume 
over which a variety of outer garments may be worn. In 
Plate VII 3 a muleteer is shewn wearing the ordinary week- 
day great-coat of his class. This is a thick coat known as 
malliotu and is a little longer than the tsipune which it hides. 
It has tasselled buttons and can be made to meet in front ; 
at the back of the neck is a small conical hood which can be 
drawn over the head in bad weather. It is trimmed round 
the edges with red or blue braid, and has sleeves which are slit 
half-way down on the inside, so that if the wearer does not 
want to put his arms in them he m^ay thrust them through at 
the shoulder and then the sleeves will hang loose down the 
back. On his feet he has particoloured woollen socks {Idpudzi) 
knitted by the women from wool spun and dyed at home. The 
peculiarity of these socks is that they are usually knitted 
from the toe upwards with bent needles. His shoes are 
tsdruh'i, the usual peasant shoe of the Southern Balkans. These 
have rather thin soles well studded with nails, hardly any 


heel, and turned-up toes decorated with a large tassel. On 
his head he wears a white fez, kdtshuld, without a tassel. If 
the weather be cold or wet the muleteer will slip on over all 
these garments a thick loose cape of goat's hair called tdmhare 
(Plate XI i). This is so thick that it is rainproof and sticks 
out all round so as to throw the rain off the lower limbs, 
although it does not reach much lower than the knees. The 
sleeves are sewn up at the end, but are slit through at the 
shoulder like those of the malliotii. There is a conical hood 
attached to the back of the neck ready to be drawn over the 
head, and it does not require fastening in front for it overlaps 
well and keeps its place by its own weight. This is the ordinary 
week-day costume of a young man, but for high days and 
holidays he will naturally put on his best. Then he will 
change the coloured shirt for a white one of fine linen, and 
with an enormous number of pleats in front, for the more 
pleats a shirt has the smarter it is (Plate VH 4). In fact it 
takes something like six yards of linen to make one. The 
jean waistcoat will be replaced by one of velveteen, the woollen 
sash by one of silk, and the white fez b}' a red one with a tassel. 
Then the malliotu will be discarded for a palto (Plate VII 4), 
a great -coat of thick homespun with a velvet collar, full skirts 
and a waist, cut more or less after the model of a European 
great-coat of which it is a local variation. The full skirts 
of the palto are required in order to accommodate the pleats 
of the tsipune behind. Like the shirt the tsipune is smarter 
in proportion to the number of its pleats {/dine) behind. The 
ordinary everyday tsipune will have only nine or ten pleats, 
and not much braiding. The Sunday tsipune will ha\'e as 
many as twenty pleats and very elaborate needlework braid- 
ing down the edges in front ; in these two points the great 
beauty of a really elegant garment lies. The tsdriih'i of week- 
days also will be replaced by a pair of slip-on black shoes 
with low heels made rather like European walking shoes, 
except that they do not lace up and have very pointed toes. 

A man of middle age will wear a costume that is practically 
the same as that just described, but there are some garments 
which are thought to be more suited to an older man. This 

PLATE /■/// 

-< g d 


is partly due to the age of the man and his clothes. That is 
to say he wore such garments when he was younger because 
they were then in fashion, and has not changed them since 
or rather never worn them out, because these clothes of home- 
spun are exceedingly durable. Such a man will almost always 
wear a white shirt, unless he happens to practise a trade 
which renders a coloured shirt more economical in the matter 
of washing. His waistcoat will be sleeveless and most probably 
of broadcloth, though of course the colour and material of a 
waistcoat is a matter of individual taste. Over his tsipune 
he will wear a short jacket with slit sleeves similar to those of 
the malliotu : this is of homespun and called either a pishli or 
a kundushu (Plate VHI i). He need not wear anything 
above this unless the weather is cold or wet, when he can put 
on a malliotu and a tdmbare. But for festivals he may wear a 
long coat of homespun cut like a malliotu, but not so long 
and with sleeves and hood quite the same. This which cannot 
meet in front is called tdldganu (Plate VH 2), and is really a 
more elegant kind of malliotu. Old men will wear instead of 
the tdldganu a garment known as sarkd which is now out of 
fashion and so confined to the old (Plate VH i) . This resembles 
the tdldganu in length, in the hood, and in the fact that it does 
not fasten in front, but the point of difference is the sleeve. 
In the sarkd the sleeves are loose and triangular, falling freely 
down over the arm. From their appearance they are known 
as ears, urekl'e. Sometimes too an old man, and occasionally 
a younger man in winter, will don a pair of full knee breeches 
tight at the knees, but loose round the thighs, called shilivdri. 
These cover the kilting of the shirt and the upper part of the 
leggings (Plate VH i). The universal colour for the national 
costume is now dark blue (indigo), but once it used to be white. 
The shepherds, who are always the last to retain old customs, 
and some old men, always wear leggings, tsipune and all of 
white homespun with a white shirt to match (Plate VHI 2), 
which in the case of shepherds is of coarse hand-made linen. 
The main reason for the change in the colour of the costume 
from white to blue is the expense entailed in keeping white 
clothes clean and good. White is naturally more picturesque, 


but not so practical a colour for those engaged in trade. Now- 
adays the only fashionable men who wear white clothes are 
bridegrooms. For his wedding every bridegroom is expected 
to get himself a full national costume of white homespun 
which for the rest of his life serves as his very best clothes 
(Plate Vni 3). The leggings, tsipune and pishli are the same 
as in the ordinary clothes, but more elaborate and mth more 
braiding, and the skirts of the tsipune are as full as they can be. 
The bridegroom's white shirt is pleated do^vn the front of the 
chest because he wears an open waistcoat. This is of velvet 
and embroidered with the fine narrow braid so heavily that 
the ground can hardly be seen. So much skill is expended on 
the making of such a waistcoat that in spite of the small 
amount of stuff used, for it is tight and is open in front, twenty 
shillings is quite a common price. It is noticeable that the 
Pindus Vlachs from Avdhela, Samarina and Perivoli now 
settled in the Verria district, have given up the use of the 
kilted shirt and the tsipune and have adopted instead the palto 
and the breeches which they make of brown not blue homespun 
(Plate XXni). Boys do not from the very beginning wear 
the full tsipune costume, but a far simpler kind of dress. Over 
their underclothes they put on a long robe of jean rather like 
a dressing-gown. This has sleeves and is lined and fastened 
in front with hooks and eyes or buttons. It reaches to the 
knees and is girt at the waist with a belt. On his legs the boy 
will wear stockings and not socks, and as a rule nothing on 
his head unless it be Sunday when he will have a red fez. Over 
this long robe known as andri he can wear either a malliotu or a 
palto (Plate XI 2). When he reaches the age of twelve or 
fourteen the andri is considered too short for a growing lad 
and so on his legs he puts homespun leggings of the usual type. 
The next stage is reached when he is about seventeen and is 
promoted to the full tsipune dress. The andri costume was 
once the ordinary garment of the town Vlach or shopkeeper, 
though now it is only very occasionally worn by such. Prob- 
ably they wore this costume, which is perhaps in origin Turkish 
or at least oriental, in the times when it was considered a 
privilege by the christians to be allowed to dress like Turks. 

PLATE l.\ 


Owing to recent events in the Balkans the next stage in the 
development of Vlach costume will be the abandonment of 
the fez, hitherto universally worn. The Thessalian Vlachs 
have already created a variety of fez which is fairly popular. 
This is small and shaped like a cone with the peak cut off. 
It is white and heavily embroidered with yellow silk, and 
when worn cocked on the back of the head, gives its wearer a 
very jaunty look. It is called a keliposhe (Plate XI i, 2). 
In Thessaly or Greek territory the Vlachs do not as a rule wear 
the fez, but a small round cap of astrachan with a flat top. 
This may become the national headgear when the fez ceases to 
be worn. 

In women's clothes there is not so much variety and there is 
at present no change like that from the malUotu to the paltd 
If the women's dress changes at all in the future there is most 
likely to be a general abandonment of their own local costume 
in favour of one purely European in origin. A woman when 
working about her house usually goes barefoot, for stockings 
and shoes will be put on only for high days and holidays. The 
shoes are of a slip-on type and not very strongly made ; in fact 
on journeys when the families are moving in the spring the 
women will frequently take off their shoes and walk along 
barefoot, since they find this more comfortable. The main 
garment worn by all women, as the foundation of their costume, 
is a simple frock all in one piece and without much waist. It 
is made of various cloths, which we are unable to describe 
precisely, known under the generic name of katfe, and their 
patterns are those which were common in England some thirty 
or forty years ago. This is what we were told when we sent 
some samples of katfe to Manchester asking if such could be 
procured now. Probably the stuffs of this kind now used in 
Samarina and the other Vlach villages are of continental 
manufacture, and some may even be made at Salonica or 
elsewhere in the Balkans. A bride will wear a frock of white 
silk (Plate XVII) and every girl is supposed to have as part of 
her trousseau another silken frock of a dark colour for second 
best wear (Plate XVIII 2). The system is that every girl is 
given as part of her trousseau as many frocks as she is thought 


likely to need for the rest of her married life. Only widows 
or elderly matrons will wear black frocks. Over her frock a 
young woman whether married or unmarried will wear a tsikettd 
which as its name implies is a short sleeveless j acket of a zouave 
type, not meeting in front (Plate IX i). The tsikettd is of 
fine homespun and heavily decorated with gold braid and 
needlework. Round the waist will be a belt with two large 
silver buckles of filigree work. If she wears a tsikettd a girl 
should not wear any other outer garment, and in fact the 
tsikettd is usually worn only on Sundays and festivals by the 
younger women. The girl, who wears a tsikettd on such days, 
will on week days wear nothing but the ordinary frock with an 
apron. The apron is a most necessary part of a woman's 
costume and whatever else she wears an apron must be worn. 
There are of course week-day aprons and Sunday aprons. If 
the tsikettd be not worn the girl will put on a dulumd directly 
over her frock (Plate IX 2, X) and this garment is to the 
women what the tsipune is to the men. It has no sleeves, does 
not meet in front, and is exactly like a man's tsipune except 
in length, for it reaches to the ankles. It is decorated round 
the edge with needlework braiding and the upper edges on 
either side above the waist are ornamented with a row of oval 
silver buttons set very close together. But such elaboration 
is as a rule reserved for the best dulumd to be worn at festivals. 
Like the tsipune the dtilumd is girt in at the waist by a belt 
with silver buckles below which hangs the apron. The dulutnd 
is of dark blue homespun like the tsipune and is a garment for 
every day wear. But when the housewife on Sunday puts on 
her best dulumd, her stockings and her best apron she has two 
other garments which she may put on. She may wear either 
a sarkd or a palto (Plate X) . The latter is a long, loose coat of 
black broad-cloth reaching to the knees, but not meeting in 
front. It has sleeves and round the edges is trimmed with fur. 
The sarkd is a somewhat similar long, loose coat, sleeveless and 
not meeting in front. It is black and trimmed with broad red 
braid round the edges and has braided decoration on the 
shoulders and on the skirt behind. It is a striking garment, 
but the great effect of it is from behind, for in front practically 


nothing of it can be seen. It must be admitted that on the 
whole the clothes of the Vlach women show less good taste than 
those of the men, and as for headgear they have none except 
a black kerchief twisted round their heads. The women 
obtain more elegance, as they imagine, by piling garment on 
garment, for when they put on their best clothes for Sundays 
they put on as many petticoats as they can carry. This has 
the effect, which is much admired, of making their skirts and 
the sarM from the waist downward stick out crinoline fashion. 
In reality in the full glory of their festal garb they seem more 
like ungainly bundles of clothes than ladies of fashion and since 
they never wear corsets the effect is clumsy in the extreme. 
On the other hand the simple character of the tsikettd cosiMme is 
rather picturesque, but any Vlach girl who looks at all pretty 
in her native dress must be really rather good looking, even 
when allowance is made for the fact that a native dress from 
its very quaintness gives a certain charm to its wearer. 

The Vlach costume makes no difference between summer 
and winter. Really these heavy garments of homespun are 
ideal for a rough winter climate, but the Vlach will wear them 
in July as well. The same clothes are also worn day and 
night, except that at night some of the heavier outer garments 
such as the malliotu, palto and sarkd will be taken off. Other- 
wise, both men and women, when they go to bed, first shut 
all the windows — the night air is so dangerous — and then bury 
themselves in piles of heavy rugs and blankets strewn on the 
floor. Yet for all their avoidance of the chill night air these 
same people will sleep out in the open at any time of year in 
almost any weather with nothing more than a rug and a 
tdmhare. Contrariness can go no further. The costume of 
the men is in some ways practical for a mountain folk. It is 
thick, durable and leaves the movements of the legs free, in 
fact it has all the advantages of the Highlander's kilt and plaid. 
On the other hand it has considerable disadvantages ; it is 
heavy especially in the folds hanging from the waist behind, 
it is tight about the body and the thickness of the stuff, which 
is useful in winter and in wet weather as being nearly rainproof, 
is a serious drawback in the summer. Further the number of 


the garments and the compHcated method of wearing them 
with their fastenings of hooks and eyes make dressing and un- 
dressing not so easy. Still for the mountain country, which is 
the Vlach's native land, it is a good costume granted that 
washing all over and undressing are not things to be done every 



nivTe BXa^^ot eva Tra^api. 

Five Vlachs make a market. 

Greek Proverb 

THE Balkan Wars of 1912-13 and the subsequent 
division of the territories that composed Turkey in 
Europe, have altered the political status of Samarina 
for it is now included in Greece. Thus it seems worth while 
to record how it and similar Vlach villages w^ere governed in 
Turkish times. The Vlachs scattered about the Balkan 
regions will eventually become assimilated to the dominant 
race of the country in which their homes are incorporated. 
Under the Turks however owing to the feuds of the rival 
political propagandas which endeavoured to absorb each for 
itself the bulk of the inhabitants of European Turkey, the 
Vlachs preserved at least the semblance of a separate national 
unit, and in their hill villages were in ordinary times almost 
autonomous. The system of the Turkish government, such 
as it was, does not seem to have been applied at any one par- 
ticular time, but rather to have gro\^Ti up gradually and to 
have been based to some extent on the old local custom, 

Samarina form^ed part of the kaza of Ghrevena and thus, 
as a part of the sanjak of Serfije, was a minor unit of the vilayet 
of Monastir. It lay on the borders of two vilayets, for the 
two villages immediately to the north and south, Furka and 
Briaza, were under Yannina. Lying as it does off the track of 
any main route the village was little troubled by Turkish 
government officials. The immediate power of the Sublime 
Porte was represented by a sergeant or a corporal and four 

other gendarmes. Occasionally during the summer patrols 



consisting of fifty or so infantry under a subaltern would visit 
the village and stay a few days while on a fruitless brigand 
hunt. One Sunday we heard a Young Turk officer make a 
speech in Greek to the assembled village after church on the 
benefits and ideals of the Ottoman constitution. Other 
representatives of the government were confined to the occa- 
sional visits of tax collectors to receive the tithes due on saw 
mills, trade profits and the like. Another government official 
was the preventive man whose duty it was to stop the import 
of illicit tobacco which comes from the Berat district. This 
latter official could be a native of Samarina, but the others 
were all strangers and as a rule Albanians, Mohammedans of 
course, or Valakhadhes, though after 1908 the appearance of 
Turkophone christian gendarmes from Anatolia caused some 
surprise. In the village itself its own local government was 
in the hands of the mukhtars or head men of whom there were 
five. Four of these were elected by the Greek party and 
each represented one of the four parishes into which the village 
is divided, St Mary the Great, St Mary the Less, St Elijah 
and St Athanasius. The fifth was the mukhtar of the Rou- 
manian or nationalist party. Although it was not till 1905 
that the Vlachs of the Turkish Empire obtained their recogni- 
tion as a separate nationality from the Sublime Porte, yet as 
early as 1895 the Roumanian party in Samarina is said to 
have succeeded in procuring from the provincial authorities 
communal rights. These five mukhtars acted together in the 
name of the whole village and no transaction was valid unless 
approved by all five. It was their duty to appoint watchmen 
(Plate XI i), to attend to the water supply and to make local 
byelaws. But after all they had no funds at their disposal 
except such as could be obtained by public subscription or 
from the wardens of the churches who would make grants 
for any work to be done in their own parish. In 1910 the 
bridge on the road to the saw mills over the ravine near the 
Shoput al Dabura required rebuilding. A committee took 
the matter up and went round the village explaining the 
object and asking for subscriptions. When enough had been 
collected, woodmen were hired to cut the necessary pines high 


up on Gorguru. Then when these were ready the young men 
including schoolmasters, especially those of the parish of St 
Elijah, which was the one most concerned in the bridge, went 
out on Sundays and feast days and dragged the heavy timbers 
down to the bridge ready for the carpenters to begin their work. 
In this way public works of great utility have been carried 

The watchmen, of whom there were usually four, had to see 
that people from other villages did not pasture their flocks or 
mules or cut timber in Samarina territory. They also watched 
the woods of K'urista in which nothing is allowed to pasture, 
and any other pasture ground which was reserved for the time 
being. For instance regularly every year the muleteers 
agree to set aside a considerable space of pasture ground near 
the village where no one is allowed to pasture sheep or mules 
till the 15th of August. The object of this is to ensure that 
there should be good pasture close to the village for the mules 
of those who come up for the festival of the Assumption. 
Another local village offtcial was the crier who by crying La 
Hani and elsewhere about the village made known to the 
inhabitants the decrees of their rulers and also advertised 
property lost and found. 

Another institution of Samarina that deserves mention is 
the NsoXa/a ^ufj^ccpiv/jg, a sort of society which on holidays 
and festivals indulges in merrymaking. But it has also a 
practical side and its members unite in carrying out something 
for the good of the community in general. For instance they 
constructed in 191 1 a small bridge on the Ghrevena road a 
little distance outside the village over a small stream, and it 
was planning the restoration of some disused drinking fountains 
on the same road. This society consists only of members of the 
Greek party and so in 191 2 another society was founded 
called Ilpoohog in which members of both political parties 
could join. This beyond electing its first officers and com- 
mittee has had little opportunity of doing anything so far, 
except to state its aims and objects. 

Like the majority of the Vlach villages in the mountains 
Samarina supports itself by trade and not by farming, though 


there was a time and that not so very long ago when Samarina 
did to some extent engage in agriculture. Of other trades 
there are few requiring technical skill which the Vlach does 
not consider it beneath his dignity to engage in. Of technical 
trades there are two which the Pindus Vlachs and their cousins 
around Verria do not practise. They are not tin or copper 
smiths, for these arc gipsy trades, nor are they masons. In the 
Verria district houses are built by Bulgar masons who come 
from the villages in the plain between Verria and Vodhena, 
and agricultural labour is done by Koniari Turks from the 
villages in the plain of Kailar. In Pindus the masons are 
Greeks from villages such as Kerasova, Burbusko (in Vlach 
Brubiska), Zhupan and so on. For instance an inscription 
recording the building of the church of St Athanasius at 
Muskopofe in 1724 says that the masons came from Krimini, 
a Greek village near Tshotili. Metsovo is the only Pindus 
village which we have visited whose inhabitants are masons. 

Though at the monastery of Samarina, which lies lower 
than the village and is inhabited all the year through, maize 
and rye are grown, and the abbot has lately planted a vineyard, 
it is now some thirty years since agriculture was undertaken by 
the villagers of Samarina itself. But there are clear signs 
that the village was once agricultural to some extent. Near 
the church of Aigl'a is a grass-grown threshing floor, and near 
the place called Tshuka which lies on the Morminde ridge 
below the Ghrevena road near the K'atra N'agra there are also 
threshing floors and traces of enclosed spaces, which were once 
ploughed. At H'ilimodhi on the borders of Samarina terri- 
tory towards Dusko Samarina possessed a chiftlik where 
some thirty to forty families remained year in and year out. 
There corn was grown, and from here Samarina was partly 
supplied with the agricultural products which it now has to 
import from the plains. Why they abandoned this chiftlik, 
which still is part of Samarina territory, and serves now only 
as a sheep run is inexplicable. 

The land which comprises the territory of Samarina is 
owned by the whole village in common. Every member of the 
village has the right to pasture his stock except in the areas 


which the community has declared closed for the time being. 
Any inhabitant of the village can cut timber and fuel where he 
pleases in the forests except in the forbidden woods of K'urista. 
Those possessing sheep or saw mills had to pay the dues on 
sheep and cut timber enforced by the Turkish government, 
and every plank cut to be sold outside the village had to bear 
an official mark to show that the dues had been paid. The 
only privately owned lands in Samarina are the lots on the site 
of the village itself and consist of houses, gardens and meadows. 
These are all fenced in and can be bought and sold and are held 
with title deeds. All the rest of the land is common property 
and can neither be bought nor sold, but every villager has the 
right to enclose any piece of ground he likes for a meadow, and 
so long as he keeps up the fence it is reserved for him and he 
can call in the village watchmen to drive off intruders. Wlien 
any stranger, shepherd or muleteer, camps for a night on 
Samarina territory on his way elsewhere, the watchmen 
demand a small payment for the right of pasturage for his 
mules or sheep, and are entitled to enforce their claim by 
impounding some of his stock. 

The other trades we may divide into two classes, those 
practised locally in the village and those which they only work 
at in the towns in the plains. But some natives of Samarina, 
who engage in trades of this latter class, practise them in the 
summer in Samarina to supply their fellow-countrymen. The 
only trade, and that not a common one, for which there is no 
demand at Samarina, is the gunsmith's. Trades which can be 
practised in the village, but of course to a far greater extent in 
the towns in the plains are, boot and shoe making, tailoring, 
milling, the making of pack saddles for mules, the making of 
knives and blacksmith's work in general, the making of sweets 
and pastry, carpentering and chair making. Another fairly 
common trade, although from its nature it is practised more in 
the towns than in the village itself, is that of silversmith and 
watchmaker. They make the silver filigree work for the big 
buckles and buttons worn by the women and set the coins given 
for betrothal gifts as necklaces or earrings. The metal which 
they use is obtained by melting down gold or silver coin. A girl 


who wants a pair of earrings will take a Turkish pound to the 
goldsmith and he retaining some of the gold as his payment 
will work the rest into the ornament desired. With these 
trades we may include the keeping of cafes, and khans or food 
shops. The keeper of a food shop will sell meat raw and 
roasted, raki, wine, beer in bottles from Salonica, cheese, 
bread and petroleum. The only professional men in the 
village are the three or four doctors, and the schoolmasters 
who including both Hellenic and Roumanian amount to about 
a dozen. A trade of more recent introduction is that of photo- 
grapher which is followed by two or three. The capitalists of 
the village are the general store keepers who sell anything 
from dyes and writing paper to draperies and scents. They 
also indulge in merchanting ; they will buy up woollen stuffs 
of local manufacture or sheepskins and cheese, and send them 
in big lots to towns such as Yannina or Monastir, or else sell 
them at the fairs mentioned below. But of all the trades that 
of muleteer is one of the most typical. One of the commonest 
sights on the roads in Macedonia or North Thessaly, and 
Epirus are the long trains of loaded mules and the Vlach mule- 
teers. A muleteer will own from three or four to nine or ten 
animals, one of which will be a horse. The horse which is 
more lightly loaded than the mules, carries the muleteer and 
his own personal property, and the mules are trained to follow 
it, for the master as he rides along at the head of his caravan 
will treat the mules with broken scraps of bread. His pro- 
perty on the horse consists of a goat's hair cape, a leather bag, 
containing a hammer, horse-shoes and nails, and a pair of 
saddle-bags, one full of barley for the mules, and the other stuffed 
with bread, roast meat, and a wooden box containing cheese, 
and last but not least a wooden flask [kofa) filled with wine 
(Plate n 2). In addition each mule carries its nosebag on its 
saddle, and their master a small metal flask of raki. The mule- 
teers are not always content to carry goods for hire, and in fact 
they cannot always find such business. In such cases they 
do a little merchanting on their own account. A muleteer 
will load up at Samarina with planks from the saw mills (the 
principal export of the village), and take them down to Greece 


to Larissa and Tirnavos. There he sells them and buys instead 
olives or olive oil which he takes to Kozhani or Shatishta, 
where he will sell his load again and replace it with corn or 
wine to bring up to Samarina. One muleteer alone can work 
unaided four or five mules, loading them with the aid of his 
fellows, for they nearly always travel in parties, or with his 
furtutird. If he has more than five mules he will have one of 
his sons to help him : for instance a man and a boy of fourteen 
can easily work eight or nine mules. 

The most typical local trades of Samarina are those con- 
nected with the saw mills, sheep and wool. In days gone by 
the pine woods of Samarina were far more extensive than they 
are to-day. Formerly the whole of Ghumara, the Morminde 
ridge, the eastern slopes of Gurguru and the valley above 
H'ilimodhi were thick with pine woods. But now all the best 
trees have been cut, and though these parts are still wooded, 
yet goats and sheep are allowed to pasture at will amongst the 
woods and so no young trees have a chance of growing. To- 
day there is a saw mill by the Skordhei, but the centre of the 
timber trade is at the four or five saw mills in the Vale Kama. 
Timber is only exported in the form of cut planks, and there 
is a great deal of waste in cutting the trees. The tops and 
branches are not put to any use, and much good timber, which 
might have been utilised had nature been a little less prodigal 
in endowing these mountains with woods, is left to rot on the 
ground. In the village itself long beams made from the more 
slender trunks roughly shaped are used for roofing, and the 
convex pieces sawn from the outsides of logs, that are to be 
sawn into planks are used for fencing and roofing. The saw 
mills are worked by water power (Plate XIII 2). A mill leet 
is taken off the stream some way above the site of the mill and 
run in a shallow channel [kdnale] to a pool situated on the hill 
side directly above the mill ; into this other streams may be 
collected from springs near by to secure a sufficient volume of 
water. Since the volume of water is small the fall must be 
greater in proportion in order to obtain enough power to work 
the water wheel. Consequently from the outlet of the pool, 
which is lined with rough planks and puddled with clay, a long 


enclosed shoot of wood [kdnitd) runs right down on to the wheel 
itself. The wheel is small and pl&.ced low down against the 
pile substructure of the mill proper, and is connected with the 
gear that runs the saws by a system of belting. The saw 
blades, of which there are two or three, project from the floor 
of the mill. Against them the log to be sa\\Ti is rolled into 
position on a sort of cradle which by an ingenious arrangement 
moves towards the saws which work vertically. Attached to 
each saw mill is also a wooden shed built of waste planks where 
the sawyers sleep. These are often closed with ingeniously 
constructed wooden locks. Down the mountain side near the 
mill are several shoots for rolling down the logs, and from the 
bottom of the shoots are inclined ways of pine trunks for rolling 
the logs easily into the mill. 

Samarina also possesses several ordinary water mills for 
grinding corn and maize. These are either in the village itself 
on one of the small streams running through it, or in the valley 
below where the river of Samarina gives a plentiful supply of 
water. \\'hen the grain is bought from the muleteers who 
bring it up and sell it in the misohori, the women sift it and 
sort out all impurities and if necessary even wash it. It is left 
in the courtyard of the house in the sun to dry for three or four 
hours with a small child to watch it and drive off chickens, 
and then it is rebagged and sent to the mill. For this purpose 
every miller keeps a donkey which he sends round in charge of 
a small boy to bring in the grain. The mills both as regards the 
leet and the tall narrow shoot for the water resemble the saw 
mills in arrangement ; but the wheel is placed horizontally to 
avoid the difficulty of transferring the power from a vertical 
wheel to the horizontal mill stones. The gearing is mostly of 
wood and the mill stones are not one stone, but are composed 
of many small pieces ingeniously fitted together and bound 
with iron hoops. Most millers also possess a hdtal'e and 
drdshteala, the special apparatus necessary for washing the 
woollen fabrics when they are woven. 

Sheep rearing is still an important trade at Samarina, but 
not so important as formerly. Up to 1877 Samarina pos- 
sessed about eighty thousand head of sheep, but to-day has 


some seventeen thousand only. The diminution has been 
due to two causes. The rising of 1878 seriously injured the 
Vlachs as the principal shepherds, and the people of Samarina 
amongst them. Then the division of the Vlach country by 
the cession of Thessaly to Greece erected a customs barrier 
between the summer and winter pastures of the Samarina 
shepherds. Further the proximity of the Samarina country 
to the Greek frontier till 1912 rendered it easily liable to raids 
from brigands who would have their base in Greek territory 
where they were careful to keep within the law. Owing to 
the difficulty of the country they could after an exploit com- 
mitted in Turkish territory escape to Greece and immunity 
and vice versa. This brigandage naturally concerned the 
shepherds more than other people because the shepherd from 
his trade is obliged to live out on the hills with his flocks far 
away from gendarmes. Brigands would come to a sheepfold 
and demand milk, bread and a roast lamb for supper. The 
shepherd could not refuse, or the brigands would revenge 
themselves by robbing him and perhaps by killing two or 
three hundred ewes. Similarly should a patrol of gendarmerie 
appear in pursuit of brigands the shepherd would have to feed 
them, and to give information as to brigands anywhere near. 
Should he refuse he would be beaten within an inch of his 
life and perhaps cast into prison. If the brigands were to 
hear that he had betrayed their whereabouts, they would 
return at the first opportunity, and either kill the shepherd 
or his flocks. In this state of affairs it will be seen that it 
needs a bold and determined man to take up the peaceful 
and Arcadian existence of shepherd, and it is small cause for 
wonder if many shepherds have sold their flocks and adopted 
other pursuits, while others not having much choice live hand 
in glove with brigands. 

About St George's Day which falls on the 23rd of April 
O.S., the shepherds who winter in the Thessalian plains round 
Trikkala, or between Larissa and Tirnavos or in the Potamia 
district near Elassona prepare for moving to the mountains 
for the summer. The lambs which have been born during 
the winter in December or January are by this time weaned 


and capable of standing the journey. The flock which consists 
of from five hundred to two thousand head is divided into 
detachments. The ewes are divided into two classes, barren 
(stearpe), and milch [aplikatori, or nidtritse), and these again 
are subdivided according to colour into flocks of white and 
black. The lambs and rams are likewise drafted into separate 
flocks. When the mountain pastures are reached the head 
shepherd sets up his sheepfold more or less in the same spot 
as in former years, and while he remains in the village looking 
after the sale of the produce, but visiting his fold almost every 
day, the charge of the flocks and the butter and cheese 
making devolve on his subordinates. The fold (kutaru) 
proper (Plate XI 3) consists of a round enclosure fenced in 
with thorns, branches and rough planks. At one end is a 
wide entrance [ushe) which can easily be closed or watched. 
Not quite opposite this a narrow exit {arugd) with a post in 
the middle so that not more than two or three ewes can pass 
out at a time. In front of this exit are placed four milking 
stones arranged two and two as shown. The milkers sit on 
these and as the ewes pass out seize them by the hind legs 
and milk them into large tin pails {gdleata). This place, where 
the milking stones are, is roofed in with rough planks on 
rafters laid over forked sticks, and forms the porch of the 
kashari proper, where the mysteries of cheese making are 
carried on. This is a long oblong shed boarded in at the sides, 
but open at the ends. In one corner is a locked cupboard 
where made cheese can be kept, also bread and any imple- 
ments not in use. Along one wall is a long, inclined wooden 
table where cheese can be laid to drain. In the centre is a 
rough hearth, under a hook hanging from the ceiling, and 
walled in with stones on which are propped the pails in which 
the milk is boiled. Along the other side will be a row of tall 
slender tubs in which the cream is kept ready to be made 
into cheese. From the roof beams are hanging several bags 
containing half-made cheese from which the water is being 
drained out. Most of the shepherds make but one kind of 
cheese, kash kaval, which is bought up by merchants, sent to 
Yannina and thence exported to Italy where it appears as 






Caccia Cavallo. The making of this cheese is roughly as 
follows. The milk is boiled with the addition of a little salt. 
The resulting cream [alkd) is collected (sheep's milk is richer 
in cream in proportion than cow's), and kept for some time 
in one of the tubs. Then through a further process of boiling 
and straining it is turned into ordinary white milk cheese. 
This is shredded and reboiled, and then pressed into low, 
round wooden moulds. It is again strained and dried, and 
when hard it is taken out of the mould and placed on a board 
under a weight to harden still further, and at the same time is 
liberally salted till it has absorbed as much as it can. Then 
it is ready for market : the heads (kapite) of cheese are packed 
in rouleaux in sacks and so make their way by mule to Yannina. 
The constant and profitable nature of the demand for this 
kash kaval has caused the shepherds to confine their attention 
to making this. The result is that ordinary white cheese and 
butter are dear and scarce in Samarina where there are so 
many sheep. A favourite kind of cheese sometimes made is 
that called urdu (Gk. fLavovpt), which is produced by a different 
process. Yiaurti {mdrkatu) is also made, and amongst the 
poor a dish called gizd is popular which is made by boiling 
butter milk. But butter milk [dald) is not common since butter 
[umtu) is rarely made. From fresh milk a dish called lapte 
grossu (thick milk) is procured by slightly turning it, and boiling 
it till thick. As a rule when milk is boiled a little salt is added 
to it. The shepherds continue this life in the hills till about the 
day of St Demetrius, October 26th O.S. when they move down 
to the plains for the winter. The ewes are milked up to the 
end of July, and then gradually milk becomes scarcer, cheese 
making stops and active work at the sheep fold ceases. The 
fold does not serve as a shelter for the flock, but only as a 
method of bringing them together. At night they sleep in the 
open watched by savage dogs, which however are not taught 
to drive the flock, but only to watch. At midday the flocks 
and their attendant shepherds will be found asleep under 
some large tree which gives enough shade to protect them 
from the heat of the summer sun. The flock when it wanders 
is led by an elderly ram with a bell. Towards the end of 


August Albanian dealers appear at Samarina to buy up worn 
out ewes and rams to sell to butchers in the Berat, and El- 
basan districts. Shearing takes place just before or just 
after the spring migration to the hills. The sheep are not 
washed before shearing, and they are never dipped, but on 
the whole they keep very healthy. In 191 1 however both 
sheep and goats throughout Macedonia and Thessaly suffered 
severely from some disease which seemed to take the form of 
an acute foot rot, and many died, and those which survived 
were in very poor condition. Undoubtedly careful breeding 
and a greater attention to cleanliness would produce much 
better results. Yet all things considered the quality of the 
cheese and mutton is excellent. 

The wool trade is the most important trade of the village 
and the one on which it mostly depends. Every spring when 
the sheep are shorn the heads of families buy up quantities 
of raw wool for their wives and daughters to work up during 
the summer (Plate XH). When the village is reached the first 
process is to pick over the wool by hand to remove the more 
prominent impurities such as burrs, and smooth out some of 
the tangles. Next the wool is washed and spread out in the 
sun to dry, and is also kept in two qualities long thread and 
short thread. When dry the wool is carded. The carder a 
girl sits on one end of a long low kind of stool, in the other 
end of which is fixed a carding comb [k'apHne). This is a 
rectangular piece of wood with one side studded with small 
nails, and it has a handle attached to one of the long sides. 
The wool to be carded is laid on this fixed comb and the 
operator draws it backwards and forwards with a similar 
comb held in the hands till the wool is loose and fluffy. Wool 
with short thread after carding is rolled up into loose lumps 
ipitrika), and then spun on a spinning wheel {tshikrike) into 
spools {tsdyi) of thread (tramd) for weaving. The spools are 
wound off into large round balls, and this is the thread used 
for setting up the warp on the loom. Other spools are wound 
off again on to spindles and make the woof. Long thread 
wool after carding is kept in loose lumps (apald), and then 
spun on the spinning wheel into flock [floku). The spools of 



this are wound into skeins [trdna) on a winder [lishkitoru) and 
then dyed various colours. These skeins are used to make 
the flock which is woven into the patterns of blankets, rugs 
and mats. Other wool with long thread after being carded 
is made into small lumps [sumo) and placed in handfuls [kairu] 
on the distaff {furka) and spun by hand into thread (usturd) 
for weaving flannels, and stuffs. The thread which is to be 
dyed for wea\'ing varicoloured carpets and rugs is first wound 
into skeins on the \\dnder, then after dyeing is placed on an 
instrument called an anemi and from this wound into spools 
to be placed in the shuttle {zvaltsd) for weaving. The principal 
stuffs made are homespun {adhunta) which is usually white, 
and two varieties of the same, one thin and fine called gar- 
vanitshu which is usually black, the other a thick homespun 
(garvano) with a heavy flock from which waterproof outer 
coats and capes are made. Flannel [katasarku) is also made, 
and many varieties of rugs and blankets. The rugs are called 
tende or vilendze, and may be compared to heavy blankets 
or coarse travelling rugs. They are made in lengths not quite 
a yard wide and four to six lengths go to make one blanket. 
The tents used on journeys are made of similar material, but 
rather thicker, and are always composed of sLx lengths and 
almost without exception the pattern consists of black and 
white stripes. The patterns of the rugs fall into two main 
kinds, both of which are geometrical. The first class is 
bicoloured in black and white and consists of a series of white 
diamonds bordered with black. In the centre of each diamond 
is a double axe with a short shaft also in black. The other 
patterns are of miscellaneous geometric types, and multi- 
coloured, red, yellow, green, blue, etc. The rugs of the first 
type of pattern are smoothly made with a thick flock, but 
those of the second are more coarsely made and ornamented 
with long tassel-like pieces of flock woven in here and there. 
Both these kinds of rugs are however no longer in fashion, 
for even Samarina has its fashions. To-day it is the custom 
to make a mat-like kind of rug called tshorgd. These are 
made in two sizes small for spreading on the floor to sit or 
sleep on, and large to cover oneself with at night. These are 


like thick woollen hearthrugs, and have a long, thick even 
flock all over carefully woven into the fabric. They are 
dyed indigo, or if not may be made with flock ready dyed 
when they boast all the colours of the rainbow. One regret- 
table feature is that the introduction of aniline dyes has 
caused them to abandon the use of local vegetable dyes, 
which gave far more artistic effects in colouring. Pillow 
cases [kdpitin'i) are also made from the local wool, and in 
these again the fashion has changed. Formerly the patterns 
were simple and geometric and the fabric was of a blanket type. 
To-day they are made of a carpet-like fabric, and decorated 
with floral and bird designs of an earl}^ Victorian appearance 
and executed on a red ground in blue, yellow and green aniline 
colours. Further instead of the earlier rugs carpets are now 
made with patterns somewhat similar to those of the modem 
pillow cases. The carpets are made in lengths, borders and 
all and the pattern is carefully calculated so that all should 
join up properly when the whole is eventually put together. 
Of similar fabric are the mantel borders, and door hangings 
which are used to decorate the principal room on festivals 
and other great occasions. A variety of garvano is made of 
goat's hair and is used for making the capes used by shepherds 
and muleteers. When made all the various rugs and stuffs 
with the exception of the carpets are washed and shrunk. 
The homespun and similar fabrics are treated in a beethng 
mill [baial'e). This which is worked by water power (Plate 
Xni i), is a low shed — occasionally it is in the open — on one 
side of which are swung four heavy wooden hammers [tshokote) 
so arranged on a notched wooden shaft that they work two 
and two alternately. Along the other side is a narrow wooden 
shelf sloping towards the hammer heads and on the same 
level with them. On the other side of this shelf is a stout 
wooden beam for the hammers to beat against. In this is 
cut a narrow rill into which runs a small stream of water 
taken off the mill leet. From this rill small holes are bored 
leading on to the upper edge of the sloping shelf so that a 
constant, but thin trickle of water can always be running on 
to it. On the shelf is placed the stuff which has flrst been 


thoroughly wetted, and when the water is turned on to the 
wheel the hammers swing to and fro two and two beating 
the stuff against the beam behind it. With the constant 
trickle of water the stuff is always kept wet. Thus it is beaten 
firm and thick and smooth and at the same time well shrunk. 
This ensures the essential quality of good homespun that the 
lines of the warp and woof shall not be distinguishable on the 
surface. The rugs and blankets and the coarse stuffs with 
goat's hair are washed and shrunk in a drdshteald. This is 
a large, open, wooden tub built in the ground, and narrowing 
towards the bottom. From a long wooden shoot above a 
strong stream of water pours down into it. In this the rugs 
are placed and are whirled round and round in the seething 
torrent of water. 

This is a brief account of the manufacture in which the 
women of Samarina spend most of their time, and the profits 
of this go a long way towards supporting the families. The 
two qualities which in addition to beauty, modesty and good 
temper, are most highly prized in a girl are her ability to work 
wool and to cook. Every year the heads of families invest 
nearly all their floating capital in the purchase of raw wool. 
Consequently throughout the summer in every family there 
is a shortness of actual cash, and the marketing of the village 
in the summer is one vast credit system. All the tradesmen 
keep big ledgers and daybooks, and so also do the cafes and 
food shops. Children instead of begging a halfpenny from 
their mothers to buy sweets will beg a small handful of wool. 
This is exchanged by the sweet shop man for peppermints or 
the like, and the wool he collects in a large box under his 
counter and in due course hands over to his womenkind to 
work. Thus Samarina to a great extent lives by wool and 
thinks in wool, far more so than any other Vlach village we 
have visited. Any untoward event in the woollen trade of 
Upper Macedonia or Albania would spell disaster for Samarina. 
The woollen fabrics when made are sold at certain well 
recognised fairs. The first is the fair of St Akhillios at 
Ghrevena which we have already mentioned. The next is 
a fair at Monastir to which the merchants of Samarina send 


every year about a hundred mule loads of coarse fabrics. 
The caravan conveying these leaves Samarina about ten days 
after the festival of the Assumption on August 15th O.S. The 
next fair takes place at Seriije and begins on the i6th of 
September O.S. and lasts for four days. Returned from that, 
all Samarina prepares to go to the great fair of Konitsa which 
begins on September 22nd O.S. and lasts for eight days. 
This is the principal fair for the Samarina wool trade ; for 
this the better rugs and stuffs are reserved. To this fair 
merchants come from all parts of Albania, equally from 
Sr;utari and from Yannina. With the money obtained by 
the sale of their products at the fair of Konitsa every Samarina 
family pays the debts it has been running up during the sum- 
mer. Any failure in the success of this fair would wreck the 
credit system and plunge many into desperate financial diffi- 
culties. This fair may be said to end the summer season at 
Samarina for soon after most of the families desert the village 
and by the time the day of St Demetrius dawns only those 
who have made up their minds to winter in the village remain. 
Two other fairs concern to some extent also the people of 
Samarina. One is held at Tirnavos a few days after Easter 
and is principally a mule fair. The other takes place at 
Trikkala towards the end of September, and is mainly con- 
cerned with sheep dealing. But both these fairs have lost 
their irnportanr;e for the Vlachs of Northern Pindus, since the 
cession of Thessaly to <'/rcccc, fr^r the Greek customs duties 
were very heavy and a sf;rious bar to trarle. 

Ecclesiastically Samarina forms part of the dioriesc of 
Ghrevena and the bishop naturally has supreme control over 
the churrihes of the village and was in the eyes of the Turkish 
government the head of its Greek community. Each of the 
four churches is under the management of its own wardens 
and priests. They provide for th^; upkeep and repair of the 
churr.h and from its funrls m,-i.y gr.uit money for any public 
works in the parish, 'jhe funds are mninly derived from the 
offerings made fui Sunday and especially Iroui lh(;se given 
at the fe:,l.iva,l <)\ Lhe r hun h. The only < liin( h that possesses 
any endowment is St Mary the (/rcat whi( h owns most of the 



t 1 


booths and shops round La Hani. Each church has two or 
more priests attached to it. They are paid by their flock and 
their womenkind work wool. On the first day of every month 
they go round and bless each house in the parish and the house- 
holder in return makes a small offering. They also receive fees 
for baptisms, weddings and burials, and for reading over sick 
persons. The largest and most important parish is that of St 
Mary the Great which includes some two hundred and fifty 
houses. The interior although like all orthodox Greek churches 
may be described here, as it is a good example of the churches 
not only in Samarina, but in the other Vlach villages to the 
south. From the outside (Plate XIV i) it has the appearance of 
a tall and broad barn, and in this it resembles the majority of 
the churches in Northern Greece. On the south side and on 
the west is a low cloister {hdiaie), a constant feature of these 
churches which always have one at the west end and another 
either on the south or north. At the east end of the southern 
cloister is a chapel, another constant feature in Samarina at 
least, in this case dedicated to St Peter and St Paul. The 
entrance in use is on the south side towards the west end, but 
there is another entrance in the middle of the west end, which 
as usual in such churches is rarely used. If we enter from this 
western door we find ourselves at once in the narthex, above 
which is the women's gallery built of wood. The narthex is 
separated from the nave by a solid wall pierced by a narrow door 
in its centre, from which is taken the view of the interior seen 
in Plate XIV 2 looking eastwards. On the left of this door 
as we enter the nave is a table on which is a dish for offerings 
of money. Here one of the wardens stands with bundles of 
candles and tapers for the congregation to buy and set up 
before the ikons. There is one man in the village who is a 
candle maker and he supplies all its churches. The nave itself 
is separated from the aisles by rows of built columns, along 
which on either side of the nave are the stalls where the more 
important members of the congregation stand. In the middle 
of the stalls on the right is the bishop's throne of carved wood 
and gilt. At the west end of the stalls on the other side is a 
pulpit of similar workmanship. Towards the east end of the 


stalls on both sides are the two reading desks where the chanters 
take their stand. The walls are painted with fresco representa- 
tions of the saints and biblical subjects. The painting of ikons 
and the decorating of churches with frescoes is another Samarina 
trade, and at the present time there are said to be about twelve 
natives of the village who follow it. Naturally this craft 
cannot be practised in the village alone and therefore such 
artists travel about all over Northern Greece, Epirus and 
Macedonia in search of work. The churches of Samarina all 
seem to have been decorated by local artists, a fact which in 
many cases is borne out by the inscriptions in them. The ceiling 
is flat and of wood decorated with small ornamental panels 
and painted. Amongst Vlach villages the people of Metsovo 
are said to have been particularly renowned for making such 
ceilings in days gone by, but there is no reason to believe that 
it is a Vlach speciality. The nave is separated from the chancel 
by a tall screen of wood, most elaborately carved and gilt. 
In this are inserted the principal ikons and before them hang 
votive offerings of silver, beads, coins, cheap jewellery and 
the like. Above in the screen is a row of niches filled with 
ikons representing the important festivals of the church in order 
from left to right. The one that is appropriate to the festival 
of the day is taken out and placed on a stand in the body of the 
church and by it is put a metal stand for the tapers of the 
worshippers. Two similar taper stands are placed in the nave 
one on either side of the central door of the screen and in front 
of the two principal ikons. From the centre of the top of the 
screen rises a great gilt wooden cross flanked by two dragons. 
Often too from the overhanging cornice of the screen project 
wooden doves from which are suspended the small oil lamps 
that are lighted before the ikons. Within the screen the 
arrangement of the chancel with the prothesis on one side and 
the dhiakonikon on the other is the same as in all orthodox 
churches. It is to be noted that there is only one apse behind 
the altar, on the roof of which grows the pine tree the great 
wonder of Samarina. The whole roof of the church consists of 
rough planks covered over with overlapping stone slabs, and 
it is in such soil that this marvellous pine is rooted. 






As to the date of the church that cannot be ascertained, 
although there is an inscription which states that the wall 
paintings were executed in 1829. This translated reads as 
follows : — 

-\- Beautified was this holy and venerable temple of our very 
blessed and glorious Lady, Mary the Mother of God, in the high- 
priesthood of the all holy and reverend Metropolitan the Lord 
Anthimos and when there served in this church ]\likhail the 
priest and arch-priest and Khristos, Zisi, Steryios, Yeoryios 
and Khristos the priests, and in the wardenship of Yerasios 
Triandaphilos and at the expense and under the care of the 
same and with the contribution of Adham Tshutra and other 
christians in this village as a memorial for ever, and by the 
hand of Khristos the priest and Andonios his brother the sons 
of the priest loannis out of the same village in the year of 
salvation 1829 in the month of July the thirtieth day. 

One of the ikons dates from 181 1 and others from 1830, 1831, 
1832 and 1834. From this we may conclude that it was about 
that time that the church took its present form, but it probably 
was in existence before then. If the local tradition is right in 
asserting that this is the oldest in the village, a church must have 
stood on this site for some two or three hundred years. Outside 
the church and standing separate from it near the south-west 
corner is the campanile. This is later than the church, at least 
all agree in saying so, but its exact date is not kno\\Ti. 

Next in importance to Great St Mary's is the church of 
St Elijah. The parish includes some hundred and eighty 
houses, but is cut in two by the deep ravine already mentioned 
which has wrought such havoc among its houses. The plan 
and arrangement of this church are similar to that of Great St 
Mary's. The chapel attached to it in the cloister on the north 
side is dedicated to the Ayii Anaryiri, that is to say to St 
Cosmas and St Damian. An inscription states that the wall 
paintings were done in 1828, and this translated reads : — 

~|~ Beautified was this holy and venerable temple of the holy 
and glorious Prophet Elijah, the messenger of God, in the high- 
priesthood of the all holy Metropolitan the Lord Anthimos, and 
in the priesthood of the most reverend Mikliail the priest and 


archdeacon and Yerasios the priest and Khristos the priest, in 
the wardenship of Adham Hondre also called Samaras, and by 
the hand of Khristos the priest the son of the priest loannis 
out of the same village, in the year of salvation 1828 February 
the twentieth. The end. 

One of the ikons dates from 1786 and in a klephtic ballad 
relating to Totskas the church is referred to as being well 
known at the time between 1770 and 1800, and the present 
priest has assured us that it is at least two hundred years 

The third largest parish is that belonging to the church of 
Little St Mary's, which stands in a group of tall poplars on a 
rise at the northern end of the village. This numbers about a 
hundred houses. The church is of the same general type as 
the others, and has cloisters with a chapel dedicated to the 
Ayii Anaryiri, and a school which is used by the Greek party 
since that of Great St Mary's is not large enough. Round 
the church on the west and south is a pade enclosed by a stone 
wall topped with wood which serves as a seat, and over the 
gateway entering this is a short campanile. The south door 
of the church is built of stone on which are carved many 
strange devices, men holding flowers, St George and the dragon, 
lizards, lions, cherubim, and birds pecking at flowers. Over 
the door to the right is this inscription : — 

Holy Virgin, Mother of God, help thy servants dwelling 
in this village, in the high-priesthood of Ghavril the all holy 
and divinely protected exarch of our most holy Metropolis 
Ghrevena, at the expense of Steryioyiani, in the year 1799 
May the 28th : the master mason Zisi. 

and directly above the door is the following : — 

This temple of the Holy Virgin of the city of Samarina 
was conspicuous of old, but was again built beautiful to the 
world to the glory of the God of all mankind when there served 
as high-priest in our province the renowned Yennadhios the 
follower of wisdom, and under the care of and with great 
zeal by Zisi Exarkhu of the house of Hadzhimikha. Approach 
ye old men, young men come up, women run, hither Oh 
maidens, and worship the God of Heaven in fear of soul and 


heart, in the year 1865 August the 2nd : the master mason 

Also outside in the wall of the apse is a stone dated 1855. 
From the evidence it appears that a church was built on this 
site in 1799 and afterwards enlarged to its present form between 
1855 and 1865. This agrees well with the local tradition, but 
we cannot discover whether there was any church here before 

The last and smallest parish is that of St Athanasius which 
includes about seventy houses only. The church is of the 
usual type, and has a side chapel in the cloister dedicated to 
the Ayii Anaryiri. Now it has no school, for this collapsed 
in the winter a few years ago, but for some time it was used 
by the Roumanian party. Over the door of the church which 
is in the north side is the date 1778, and three ikons within are 
dated 1793, 1793 and 1855. We may thus conclude that the 
church in its present form was, like the others, built towards 
the end of the eighteenth century. In its construction the 
only peculiarity is that the columns in the nave are of pine 
trunks and not built columns of stone. 

This completes the list of the churches of the village proper, 
but there is the shrine reputed to be dedicated to Ayios Kosmas 
which deserves mention. This lies in a little hollow on 
the hill side above Gudrumitsa where the martyr is reported 
to have preached to the village, and in memory of his visit the 
shrine was erected on the spot where he had stood. In a 
later chapter will be found further details of this remarkable 
man, who seems to have visited Samarina in 1778, for on a 
rock a little below Mermishaklu is this inscription : — 


1861 Kozm 

and below 



The latter part is unintelligible, but the first two lines, although 
they do not seem to have been inscribed till 1861, apparently 
shew that he visited Samarina in 1778, the year before his death. 


The monastery of Samarina which is dedicated to Ayia 
Paraskevi (in Vlach Sanda Vineri), St Friday, lies about half 
an hour south of the village on the road to Briaza and not far 
above the river of Samarina. The buildings are well sheltered 
from the north and in winter are not snowed up. The site 
faces south and is well favoured by nature (Plate XVI), for 
all around the hill side is thick with pines and beeches, and in 
summer the bare patches are green with waving bracken and 
spangled with wild flowers. Below the monastery towards 
the river are a few meadows where hay is made and near these 
and also on the slopes of Ghumara opposite are some fields 
where barley, rye and maize are grown. In front is a garden 
full of vegetables and dotted with fruit trees, plums, cherries 
and apples. Before the door is a paved court enclosed by a 
low stone wall, where there is a stable and some sheds, as well 
as a spring of clear cold water and a fine walnut tree. Access 
to the monastery proper is given by a low, narrow gate in the 
west side closed with a heavy wooden door studded with iron. 
High above this outside is a projecting stone niche containing 
an ikon of Ayia Paraskevi, and directly above the door is a 
look-out place with a hole in the floor so that the monks could 
survey visitors and, if they proved undesirable, give them a 
warm reception. By the side of the niche a wooden balcony 
has recently been built so that the oil lamp hanging before 
the ikon of the saint can be hghted easily. Within the plan 
is similar to that of m.ost Levantine monasteries, that is to say 
the buildings are arranged round a court. In this case the 
court is oblong, with the longer sides on the north and south. 
The lower range of buildings on the north has an open cloister 
against the court on the ground level, and the first and second 
floors have similar cloisters now partly closed in with wood- 
work. On the ground floor are the stables and store-rooms ; 
on the first floor are the kitchens and rooms for servants ; and 
on the second floor is a row of cells, built of wood, for monks ; 
and on the west the guest-chambers. The principal guest- 
room is very similar to the principal living-room in a Samarina 
house, and the walls are decorated with picture postcards and 
photographs. The stairs leading to the upper stories are 


at the north-west corner just inside the door, and it is said 
that somewhere among the labyrinth of dark chambers on the 
second jEloor is a so-called prison where Leonidha of Samarina 
lay concealed from the Turks. All the windows look into the 
court, a sure sign that the building was constructed to stand 
a siege if necessary. Only the recently built guest-chamber, 
which is high up at the south-west corner, has windows that 
look outwards. In this case owing to the slope of the ground 
they are so high above the earth that no danger from the out- 
side can affect them. The church of the monastery is built 
into the south wall on the ground level, but has high sub- 
structures below owing to the slope of the hill. In these 
below the exo-narthex, which is open, is a large cellar-like 
room from which a secret passage is said to lead down to the 
river. By this Leonidha and Dhuka are believed to have 
escaped. At all events it can only be entered from above by 
a trapdoor and might easily not be noticed. The church, 
which of course has no other stories above it, is small and 
domed, unlike the churches in the village which have gable 
roofs with wooden rafters. The dome is supported on four 
central piers of which the two nearest the chancel are columnar. 
There is a small narthex and the chancel is separated from the 
nave by the usual gilt screen of carved wood-work, and the 
walls are decorated with pictures of saints and biblical subjects 
in fresco. At the back of the chancel is a single apse and in the 
wall above is the following inscription which gives the date 
of its building : — 

This temple of the holy, glorious and blessed virgin martyr of 
Christ Paraskevi was built in the year 1713 from the Incarnation. 

How old the monastery really is it is impossible to say. 
The people of Samarina assert that it is eight hundred years 
old and quote in support of this statement a stone carved 
with a date high up in the outside of the west wall. The date 
they read as 1066, but on careful examination with field 
glasses it appears to us to read 1866. In any case the cutting 
is fresh and does not seem to be anything like as old as 1066. 
The stone too does not seem to be in its original position and 
was perhaps transferred from elsewhere and recut. In other 


days the monastery was wealthy and had many monks. It 
owns much land and many vineyards at Armata and once 
held a chiftlik at Skutina near Kalabaka, near which is a place 
called Paleo-Samarina because several families from the village 
used to winter there. The chiftlik was sold by three or four 
prominent men of Samarina in whose names it was then 
registered and they divided the money among themselves. 
According to the common belief of the village neither those 
men nor their descendants have prospered since because of 
this sacrilege. Now the young men of Samarina who have 
emigrated to America have formed in the cities whither most 
of them go to work, a society which they call the 'FXKyiviKrj 
'AhX<poT'/]C '2tCi[jjCcf)ii'ciiiov, ri ' Ayict UapaCKZw^. Its main object 
is to collect funds to buy back the lost chiftlik for the monastery, 
for it is believed that the surplus funds of the monastery will 
be available to be devoted to public works in the village. 
For some time towards the end of the nineteenth century the 
monastery was deserted, but recently the villagers determined 
that it should be revived and looked about for a suitable 
man to make abbot. They found a native of Samarina who 
was a monk at the famous monastery of Zaburdo, and had 
some sheep and goats. They thought that with this capital 
and the pastures round the monastery he would be able to 
restore it to prosperity. Their expectations have been realised, 
for the sheep and goats have multiplied and the monastery 
does a good trade in kash kaval. The abbot is energetic in 
overseeing the lands at Armata, has cultivated the garden and 
fields near, and has rebuilt much of the upper story on the 
inside with wood. The new guest-chambers are his work, 
and he has recently planted a vineyard. The monastery 
now employs an old woman as cook, several men as shepherds 
and labourers, and two or three boys, all of them Vlachs of 
Samarina. There are two monks, natives too, but they are 
not always in residence, and in 191 1 a Greek priest was im- 
ported for the services of the church, for the abbot is a man 
of business and not of learning. 

In the fields near the monastery stands yet another church 
called St Saviour's (Ayios Sotir) which forms part of the 


monastery. This is larger than the church of the monastery 
itself and in plan resembles those in the village, although it 
has no cloisters. It is roofed by a series of small domes and 
yet has the divisions between the nave and the aisles formed 
by arcades. The walls are covered with frescoes and the 
inscription accompanying them says they were finished in 
1819. Its text translated runs thus : — 

""j~ Beautified was this holy and venerable temple of the 
holy, glorious and blessed virgin martyr and champion of Christ 
Paraskevi in the high-priesthood of the all holy and divinely 
protected Metropolitan the holy bishop of Ghrevena the Lord 
Vartholomeos, by the care and contribution of the holy fathers 
present in this holy monastery, by the hand of the poor readers 
Dhimitrios and ]\Iikhail the sons of the priest loannis out of 
the same village Samarina, in the year of salvation 1819 in 
the month of October the fifteenth day it was finished, glory 
to God the Holy. 

Thus we see that though the church is now called Ayios 
Sotir it was originally dedicated, like the monastery itself, 
to Ayia Paraskevi and in consequence it has changed its 
festival from the day of that saint to the feast of the Transfigura- 
tion. It is quite possible that the fact that both churches 
had the same festival caused the name of this second church 
to be changed, so that its feast should fall on a different day. 
This involves two collections of offerings instead of one. The 
building of this and the churches in the village itself falls at the 
end of the eighteenth century after the treaty of Kainarji in 
1774 between Russia and Turkey by which the christians in 
Turkey were not to be prevented from building or repairing 
churches. We may however also conclude that this was the 
most flourishing period of Samarina, when there was most 
money available for building churches, not only in the village, 
but also at the monastery. A parallel instance is to be seen in 
the case of MuskopoFe, mentioned in a later chapter. 

The only other churches on Samarina territory are those at 
the abandoned chiftlik of H'ilimodhi where there are two. One 
is dedicated to St Athanasius and the other to St Saviour, 
but both are small and not in good condition. Round them 


are the ruins of houses and a few small huts and barns used 
by those who go to cut hay there. 

The houses like the churches are all built by Greek masons, 
and so are only Vlach in a secondary sense. As in many other 
Vlach villages nearly every house at Samarina has its own 
patch of garden, divided off by a rough stone wall or a rude 
wooden fence (Plate XV 2). Here are grown French beans, 
broad beans, cabbages, lettuces, sorrel, cucumbers, marrows, 
tomatoes, parsley, mint, potatoes and Jerusalem artichokes, in 
fact any vegetable that can be grown in the summer. Besides 
vegetables most gardens will boast a cherry or plum tree, and 
perhaps also an apple or pear. Here and there too one may 
see roses, marigolds and stocks, but like nearly all Balkan 
christians the Vlachs care little for flowers. The houses are 
built of stones and nearly all stand two stories high ; in size 
they vary from large imposing buildings capable of holding 
four or more families to modest dwellings meant for one family 
only (Plates XV 2, XVI i, XVH). The smaller houses are 
often semi-detached and are frequently grouped round a 
small paved yard. Excepting round the doors and windows 
and in the angles where squared blocks are sometimes employed, 
the stones used are left rough and since lime cannot be procured 
on the spot, mortar is expensive and is used sparingly. The 
stones in consequence are usually laid in mud, but pointed on 
the outside with mortar and plastered inside and then white- 
washed. Battens of juniper, a wood that does not easily 
perish, are laid lengthways in the walls at fairly frequent 
intervals to act as binding courses. The roofs are all of a low 
gable type, for a flat roof of course would not stand the winter 
snows, and are made either of stone slabs, or of rough hewn 
planks. The only attempt at external decoration consists of 
grotesque figures and rude patterns which are occasionally 
carved on one or two of the larger stones built into the walls. 
A stone inscribed with the date and the builder's name is also 
sometimes seen. 

In many respects the type of house built has gradually 
been changing during recent years and house architecture in 
Samarina is at present in an interesting transitional stage. The 





older houses in the village have few and only small windows on 
the ground floor, and all the living-rooms are in the upper story. 
In the newer houses the need for defence has been less press- 
ing so that windows on the ground floor are larger and more 
frequent. The living-room is still upstairs, but the downstair 
rooms are beginning to be used. Contemporary with this 
development there has been a great increase in small comforts 
and European ideas. Window glass has come into use, but is 
still far from universal. Generally speaking it is only found 
in the newest houses and in those inhabited all the year round. 
Boarded floors are supplanting the old mud floors, chairs at 
Samarina have come into vogue with a rush and most houses 
now possess one or two. Wall decorations such as picture 
postcards and the like are also a sign of the times. It seems 
therefore worth while to describe a house and its contents in 
some detail, and as typical we may select a house of moderate 
size, of respectable antiquity and one belonging to a family 
that is tolerably well off. 

The house will be entered by a low, but wide door on the 
ground floor. This opens directly into a long, low room paved 
with rough slabs. If the owner be a muleteer this will at times 
be used as a stable, and along one side there will be a manger. 
If not, the manger or a place for one may be there all the same, 
but the room in summer at least will be the work-room and 
contain the loom, spinning-wheel, skein-winder, and stool and 
comb for carding, all of which would otherwise be upstairs. 
For the greater part of the day we shall find the housewife 
in the work-room at her spinning-wheel, an elder daughter will 
be at the loom, and a younger perhaps carding wool, all pro- 
bably will be near the open door for the windows if any are 
small. Outside in the paved courtyard spread on a rug in the 
sun to dry will be the wool that has recently been picked over 
and washed. On high days and holidays the loom will be 
covered over with a rug and the other implements for weaving 
put out of sight. The rest of the ground floor is taken up by a 
store-room, in which are kept wooden chests full of spare 
rugs and clothes, homespun not yet made up, tins of butter or 
lard, and other household properties. There will also be a 


bin for flour and a few skins of cheese will probably be 
hanging from the roof. From the work-room a short straight 
staircase with a simple hand rail leads directly to the principal 
room of the house. The top of the stairway is usually fenced 
in with lattice-work, above which is a cupboard where the rugs 
used for bedding are put away. 

Either across one end of the room or round two or three of 
the walls there will be a low wooden dais or minddrlik'i. 
Woollen rugs woven by the mistress of the house are strewn 
over it, and a few cushions are placed in the corners by the wall. 
In the day-time it is the place to sit upon, and at night it 
becomes a bed. The newer the house the narrower the min- 
ddrlik'i, and in some of the newest houses where chairs are 
intended to be used it has almost become a bench round the 
wall. Again, where the minddrlik'i is large, the remaining 
part of the floor, whether of boards or beaten earth — earthen 
floors are to be found even in upstairs rooms — is often left un- 
covered as it is not used to sit upon ; but where the minddrlik'i 
is comparatively small the rest of the floor is usually covered 
with a piece of carpet or rug. On entering a house the shoes 
are usually removed as the floor is still the place on which to 
sit, but with the increase of chairs and boots, both European 
innovations, this custom is dying out. 

Partly built into the wall on the side of the room where 
there is no minddrlik'i will be the misandrd, a very typical 
piece of furniture which may be described as a cross between a 
wardrobe and sideboard. The centre part of it, which is set 
back, consists of a large double-doored cupboard where rugs 
and pillows can be stored. Immediately to either side are a few 
small shelves, and beyond these large cupboards for more rugs 
or clothes. Elsewhere in the room there will probably be one 
or two small shelved cupboards built into the walls. Directly 
opposite the misandrd and so on the dais or minddrlik'i and 
right up against the wall is the fireplace or vatrd, a square of 
flat slabs plastered over with mud. Above it is a wide chimney 
that partly projects into the room and is ornamented b}^ a 
special hanging of carpet. The chimney above the roof ends 
in a short, square, stone shaft covered with a large slab, but 


with slits at the side for the smoke. The places of honour in 
the house alike by day and night are in the corners to right and 
left of the hearth. 

In all the better houses there is a flat, wooden ceiling below 
the roof beams, and in the centre of it in many cases a simple 
carved pattern. Round each wall at about a foot or two below 
the ceiling is a plank shelf, which holds glasses, bottles and 
various small objects. Here too always on the east side stands 
the family ikon before which a wick floating in olive oil is 
always kept burning. A small table completes the furniture, 
but tables like chairs are of course recent introductions. The 
most striking innovations of modern times are probably 
pictures, photographs and ornaments of various kinds, the 
result largely of emigration. These are nailed on the walls or 
placed on available shelves. Favourite pictures, excluding 
picture postcards, include a series of oleographs of the Gene- 
vieve legend that emanate from Athens ; highly coloured 
prints of the crowned heads of Europe, famous Macedonian 
bandits and other celebrities, and portraits of the Greek or 
Roumanian Royal Families give some indication of political 
feeling. Amid this galaxy of modern art, which is thought of 
exceeding beauty, one occasionally finds a quaint wood block 
or painting of Jerusalem and the Holy Places made some 
hundred years ago ; and once the treasured possession of some 
pilgrim, whose name perhaps appears in the corner. 

In most of the houses perhaps a few books may be found, 
but these nearly all belong to the younger members of the 

All but the smallest houses possess at least a second room on 
the upper floor, which is normally used as a kitchen and as a 
bedroom for the women, and in no case is as fully furnished as 
the others. In one of the upper rooms there is usually a 
niruh'ite or small sink built into the wall, at which the family 
wash. A small outer door in the upper story is usual especi- 
ally in the older houses ; and since the houses are often built on 
the side of a hill, this door sometimes opens on or near to the 
ground level, but if not it has a short sloping ladder on the 
outside. Many of the older houses have also a wooden balcony 


partly closed in by a carved wooden grill which forms one 
whole side of a room ; others have a small projection over the 
main entrance (Plate XV 2). This somewhat resembles a bow 
window ; it is closed in with planking and has a row of small 
square windows with sHding wooden shutters, and around the 
inside a low wooden seat. Both forms are known as k'ipeng'i. 
More modern houses have small wooden balconies with an 
iron rail. 

Outside the house there will be a shed used as a kitchen, if 
there is little room available within, and somewhere near at 
hand there will be an oven which is usually shared by several 
families. The ovens are dome-shaped and of a very common 
type (Plate XV 2). The base is built of stones and the upper 
part of clay strengthened with potsherds ; the floor is made of 
flat slabs and the door which is square and low is closed with a 
slab or piece of tin or iron. When the oven is first made the 
dome of clay is soft and is only kept in position by a framework 
of wood. Consequently it has to be hardened. Two or three 
ventilation holes are made in the top of the dome and a fire 
is lit inside. This consumes the wooden framework, but at the 
same time bakes the clay hard, and the oven is then ready for 
use. To bake bread a fire is lit inside the oven and allowed to 
burn through ; the flat loaves of bread are then baked in the 

The Vlachs as a whole take great pride in their homes, and 
the houses in Samarina and in m.ost of the Pindus villages 
are clean and well kept. Leake and other travellers have 
noted the neat appearance that Vlach cottages often bear in 
contrast with those of their neighbours, and Sir Charles Eliot 
to illustrate the same feature records how he once saw a Vlach 
use glass to mend a broken window, instead of the usual 
scrap of newspaper. But though the interiors of the houses 
are usually neat and clean, the villages are often untidy. A 
Vlach villager has a rooted prejudice against making repairs, 
and when repairs become necessary will often prefer to build 
a new house altogether. Abandoned and ruined houses are 
therefore not uncommon, and a single family may possess 
more than one in the same village. 



The people of Samarina have a lasting feeling for the hills 
round their native village, a strong pride in their homes for 
the time being, but no scruples about abandoning one house 
for another. They employ Greek workmen to build for them, 
but their own folk as carpenters. The words they use for the 
different parts of their houses are Greek or Turkish. Thus 
the ground floor is called hamhla, the store-room kdtoyie, and 
the window pdldthiri, all Greek words. The upper room is 
called nudd, the chimney huhare, and the cupboards duldk'i, all 
Turkish. Niruh'ite is Greek and minddrlik'i is Turkish. But 
these all denote the various parts of a house as opposed to a 
hut ; for the words used for the simplest essentials of a home, 
kasd hut or house, poartd door, and vatrd hearth, are all Vlach. 
This indicates that there was a time when permanent houses 
were unknown and a nomadic life prevailed. 



Omlu ari zh bana sh moarti. 

Man has both Hfe and death. 

Vlach Proverb 

IN the Southern Balkans where the different races Hve 
side by side in the same towns and villages it is very 
difficult to decide how far any custom is peculiar to 
any one of them. The Vlachs are no exception to this rule 
and owing to their small number and their dispersion amongst 
other races, they have borrowed and adapted from their 
neighbours to a great extent. This is especially true of all 
customs in which the church is concerned such as baptism, 
marriage and burial where the Greek influence is predominant. 
Of the songs sung at betrothals and weddings the great 
majority are in Greek, but what was their original language, 
is a different question. The account here given of some of 
their more important customs is based on our own observa- 
tion at Samarina and completed with the aid of information, 
which was taken down on the spot and verified wherever 
possible. There is no means of determining whether any 
particular custom is old or recent, though we have men- 
tioned any changes in this respect which came under our 
notice. Consequently this is to be taken as a record of what 
was the usual custom at Samarina when we were there. To 
aim at completeness would be impossible, for it would take a 
lifetime or longer to reach it. Those who have attempted to 
collect folk-lore in the Balkans will know how much time and 
patience are required to get information especially from the 



It is said that when a woman is with child she is not al- 
lowed to go out at night, for it is supposed to be dangerous 
for her. When her labour begins, a boy is sent to fetch the 
old woman, who acts as midwife and is the only person who 
assists at the child's birth. After birth the child is wrapped 
up in swaddling clothes and placed in a cradle or in a corner. 
Then the members of the family come to see the baby, for up 
till then they are not allowed to be in the house. The small 
boys of the family run about to tell the news to the relations 
of the mother to receive sihdrik'e, that is to get a small gift, a 
few halfpence or some sweets. The mother lies down in bed 
covered with a thick rug and her relations bring gifts called 
hdghdnitsle, batter cakes, pilaf, a bottle of wine and a kulakii. 
A kulaku is a flat round loaf of bread baked in a tin and bought 
from a baker. It is made of wheaten ilour mixed with pease, 
and is decorated on top with patterns in sesame. The boy 
who carries these gifts — it is considered undignified for a 
grown-up person to carry anything — is rewarded with one or 
two piastres. Three days after birth they make preparations 
for the visit of the fates, who come, so they say, at midnight. 
The child is carefully dressed and one or two gold pieces or 
some other kind of ornament is hung round its neck. It is 
believed that if the child is thus decorated the fates will " write 
a good fortune for it." If not, the fortune given will be bad, 
and when anyone is unlucky one often hears the phrase " so 
was it written for him." The mother is not allowed to go out 
of the house, even to go to church for forty days from the 
time of the birth. When the forty days are completed she is 
churched by the priest, a ceremony which takes place in the 
house. Then the mother sets to work and washes the whole 
house, and all the rugs, clothes and other properties in it. 
She whitewashes it, repairs and rolls the floors of beaten earth 
and rcpoints with clay the stone-work round the door. When 
all this is finished and the house is literally and metaphorically 
clean again, she can go out, go to church and pay calls. 

The child may not be taken out of the house till it has been 


christened. Wlien children are quite young it may happen 
that they fall ill. If they are unbaptized, it will be said that 
they are ill ; but if they have already been christened it will 
be said that they have been bewitched with the evil eye. 
Curiously enough the evil eye can only affect those who have 
been baptized. One often sees women and girls with a blot of 
indigo in the middle of their foreheads, which is a charm against 
the evil eye. On the other hand the short Hues or circlets that 
are painted in indigo or pitch on the neck, wrists or forearms 
are charms against diphtheria and other dangerous diseases. 


Generally christening takes place about eight days after 
birth, but may be put off for a week or two. Exceptional 
cases occur in which baptism is delayed for as much as a year, 
and then the custom which forbids the child to be taken out 
before its christening is not observed. The child has only one 
godfather who should be the same person who acted as best 
man at the parents' wedding. In Vlach the term nunu is 
used for both duties. Often it is not possible for the same 
man to act on both occasions, and then another godfather 
has to be chosen. When the parents have decided that the 
child is to be baptized, they send a boy with a kulaku to the 
godfather to tell him that his presence is required. The god- 
father provides the child with christening clothes, arms him- 
self with two or three wax tapers, a kerchief, a metal jug with 
warm water and another with cold and goes to meet the 
priests at the church. The child is brought there by the 
midwife and then baptized according to the rites of the Ortho- 
dox Eastern Church. Baptism takes place by immersion and 
immediately after the child is confirmed and so made a full 
member of the church. When the priest baptizes the child 
the name is given him by the godfather who names the child 
as he pleases. Small boys belonging to the family crowd 
round and as soon as they hear the name given by the god- 
father run off to the parents' house and to relations to tell 
the name and receive sihdrik'e. The first to bring the news is 


given a piastre, and the others halfpennies or sweets. After 
the ceremony in the church the company returns to the parents' 
house, the godfather carrying the child in his arms and holding 
in his hands two lighted tapers. As soon as they enter the 
house the mother takes a gold or silver ornament and a piece 
of bread and kneels before the godfather and kisses his hand, 
after which she takes the baby and puts it in the cradle. 
Then the godfather goes up to the child, kisses it and makes 
some gift, a gold piece, a dollar or whatever he likes. After 
that they all sit down, eat drink and make merry. W'Tien 
they begin to sing the following song is that considered most 
appropriate : — 

Get up Demetrius and change your clothes and put on your golden 
dress and let us go to the Aghrapha, high up to Karpenisi that you 
may christen the child and give him his name. He has eyes like the 
priest and eyebrows like the bishop. 


In Samarina there is no fixed age for betrothal which 
generally occurs about one year before marriage, but the girl 
is usually about twenty and the man between twenty-five 
and thirty or even older. In a large family the girls, unless 
some of them are much younger than their elder brothers, 
marry first and the elder sisters and brothers always take 
precedence of the younger. This is the reason why the bride 
is always younger than the bridegroom. In every case it is 
looked upon as a natural thing that one should marry. Owing 
to the fact that more boys are born than girls, old maids are 
unknown ; but old bachelors are despised. The social life 
of the Vlachs in which both sexes meet on almost equal terms 
and the fact that a Vlach girl has no dowry means that theo- 
retically in both betrothal and marriage there is a certain 
freedom of choice on both sides. How much this is so in 
practice it is not possible for a stranger to say. Among the 
Greeks no girl can hope for marriage unless her parents can 
give a dowry large enough to attract some suitable young man, 
and the bridegroom's principal aim in choosing a bride is to 


obtain as much money as possible. This leads, as in all 
countries where the dowry system is the rule, to much wrang- 
ling. The dowry is paid in cash and is the absolute property 
of the husband, and is only repayable in the event of divorce 
or of the bride's death soon after marriage. The Vlachs all 
condemn this system alleging that it prevents free choice, 
but many of them will marry Greek girls for the sake of the 
dowry. But the position of women among the Vlachs is 
better than in Greek villages where a girl has no choice at all. 
Among the Vlachs no young man can hope to obtain a bride 
till he is in a position to support a wife. He on his part will 
look for a bride who works wool well and is a good cook. Her 
abilities as a housewife are important for she brings him nothing 
else except her trousseau, some rugs, and a few household 
properties. No wedding presents are ever given. 

When a young man reaches a suitable age and thinks he 
can afford it, he takes the first step and applies for the hand 
of some girl on whom he has set his affections. He selects 
two older men, who should be married, of about forty or fifty 
years of age and generally respected in the village, as his 
ambassadors [pruksinitsi) . They approach the parents and 
ask them if they are willing to give their daughter to the 
young man in question. The answer may be given the same 
day, but more often two or three days pass while the family 
consider the proposal. All the important members of the 
family are consulted and they enquire about the young man 
to see if he has a good character and is hard working and 
healthy. Often two or more young men will propose for the 
same girl at the same time. Then even more deliberation is 
required and it is necessary, perhaps, to find out if the girl 
has any preference. If she has, it is expressed in the most 
modest way through her parents. If the parents are not willing 
to give their daughter in marriage to a candidate, the saying 
goes that he has been beaten ; and the same phrase is applied 
to the unsuccessful ambassadors as well. When a favourable 
answer is given the ambassadors return to the would-be 
bridegroom and bid his family prepare for the formal betrothal 
and exchange of rings. This will take place on a festival 


or on a Sunday. A betrothal may take place at any time in 
the summer, but since all Samarina, if it can, comes up to 
the village for the festival of the Assumption, this is the time 
for the young men to propose for brides. The holidays which 
follow this festival are the days preferred for celebrating a 
betrothal, which takes place as soon as possible and always in 
the evening after work is done for the day. 

On the appointed evening a party of friends and relations 

meets at the bridegroom's house, where they are joined by a 

priest. Then without the bridegroom they proceed in silence 

to the house of the bride. On their arrival they find the 

friends and relations of the bride's family collected together. 

The bride however does not appear, for she is hidden away in 

the back part of the house with some of her bosom friends. 

As they enter they say " Bund seard " or " Kcck}^ 'ffTripcc," " Good 

evening," the language used indicating the political party to 

which they belong, Roumanian or Greek. No reference to 

the betrothal is made, but after they sit down and talk a little 

and are served with the usual refreshments, one of the older 

members of the bride's family addresses them. " We see that 

you have come with a large party some with sticks, some with 

rifles, but we do not know what your object is." Then one of 

the elders of the bridegroom's party or one of the ambassadors 

answers, " We have heard that you have a girl, good, beautiful 

and hard working, who is called So-and-so ; we also have a 

young man, good and hard working, if you are willing let us 

betroth your girl to the young man." "If it is for such 

business that you have come, then welcome. We are willing, 

and we betroth the girl." Then a table is brought in. A 

Vlach table is of the ordinary type used in peasant houses in 

the Balkan peninsula and in Anatolia. It is low not more than 

eight inches high, and circular being about three feet in diameter, 

and can easily be carried by one person even when loaded with 

dishes. On the table is the best table-cloth and three soup 

plates, two full of sweets and the third empty. In the empty 

plate the bridegroom's party place the betrothal gifts. These 

consist of one or more gold coins sometimes made into necklaces, 

a gold ring tied on to a piece of red or blue ribbon, and a silk 


head-kerchief. The betrothal necklaces of gold pieces worn 
by the older women at Samarina consist mainly of old Turkish 
gold pieces especially those struck by Sultan Abd-ul-Mejid, 
with occasionally one or two Venetian sequins or even Roman 
aurei or Byzantine solidi. In more recent times Napoleons 
and English sovereigns have been introduced, and earrings of 
half Napoleons or half sovereigns are common. But the 
modern coins that are most popular for betrothal necklaces 
are the big Austrian gold pieces known as " Afstriakadzt," 
which cost two and a half Turkish pounds and have the nominal 
value of twenty florins. At two betrothals, at which we were 
present, the betrothal gift instead of the necklace was a Turkish 
five pound piece. As soon as the bridegroom's party have put 
down the betrothal gifts the younger men of the bride's party 
demand that they should " whiten " the plate. To " whiten " 
the plate the bridegroom's party throw into it some silver 
coins never less than a dollar, so that two or three days later 
the bride's party may make merry with roast mutton and wine. 
Then the bride's party put the bride's ring in the plate. The 
priest says a short prayer, takes the rings in his hand and 
exchanges them three times. The bride's ring, after he has 
kissed it, he gives to the bridegroom's party for each to kiss 
in turn. So the bride's ring is kept by the bridegroom's 
party, who give it to him to wear when they return to his house. 
A similar ceremony is gone through with the bridegroom's 
ring which is kissed in turn by all the members of the bride's 
party who keep it, and give it to the bride, with the other 
betrothal gifts. The bride however does not wear any of 
these gifts as long as she is betrothed, but entrusts them to 
a sister, a cousin or a bosom friend to wear for her. When 
each kisses the ring he wishes " Hdirlitka shi stefane tune ! " 
which means " Here's to the wedding, good luck (lit. good 
bridal crowns) ! " Immediately after the exchange of rings 
they begin to sing the three songs which are always sung on 
these occasions usually in the order here given. Never are 
more or fewer songs sung. Formerly this was the moment 
when it was the custom to fire off guns and rifles, and any one 
of either party, who possessed a firearm, would bring it with 


him and fire it off as often as he Hked, as soon as the first song 
was begun. Latterly this has been put down by the Turkish 
government. The first song, which is Greek, is : — 

The maiden from the east and the youth from Stamboul, the 
two strangers have met in a strange garden. You are a stranger and 
I am a stranger, let us two meet. I have a thousand gold pieces and 
five hundred piastres. Come maiden let us stay, let us spend the 
evening. I have three hundred and two gold pieces in a golden hand- 
kerchief. Take them maiden and count them, take them, reckon 

The second song is in Vlach and is given below as the 
seventh in Appendix IV. 

The third and last song is Greek :~- 

From rock to rock I walk, from stone to stone. Wlaere am I to 
find a good mate, good and honourable, like a swift horse, like a fast 
plough ox, like a good wife who honours her husband, like two affec- 
tionate brothers who love one another ? And now an attempt is made 
to part them. And what cause can be found to part them ? You 
have vineyards and fields to divide. All that are in the middle and 
are good, take them master ; and all that are on the border and are 
bad give them to your brother. Find such cause against him that 
you may go and kill him. 

Papayeoryiu, who has published an account of the Samarina 
betrothal and wedding ceremonies, gives a different song 
instead of this. We have never heard it sung ourselves at this 
point, but it is still known in the village and is sung during the 
merrymaking that follows the formal ceremony. 

After the singing of these songs the bridegroom's party 
departs on its way back to his house. On their way back they 
sing loudly and joyfully this Greek song : — 

Bright little moon light me on my road. I hasten to pass the 
streets and cross the bridges. Far away there on Olympus an aged 
stag pastures, and his eyes ever weep. He pours forth red tears, red 
and green, and tears all blue. 

Each member of the party takes a handful of flour with 
him, and when they arrive at the house and are received by 
the bridegroom, they throw the flour over his head and face 
and say " May you grow white like the flour ! " by way of 


wishing him long Hfe. The bride is treated in the same way 
by her friends and relations. After that both at the bride's 
and at the bridegroom's they sit down to a hearty supper, and 
the rest of the evening is spent in dancing and singing. If 
musicians can be procured they dance to music. Otherwise 
they sing songs to which they dance. 

When the bridegroom's party leaves the bride's house they 
look about for something to steal, a pillow, photographs, or 
any other small object that can be taken unobserved. These 
are presented by them to the bridegroom on their return to 
his house and are given back the next day to the bride's 

The next day about noon or soon after the friends and 
relations of the bridegroom collect again at his house and then 
go in a body to the bride's house together with the bridegroom 
who thus pays his first formal call on his future parents-in-law. 
They are entertained with batter cakes, roast lamb and other 
refreshments, but since batter cakes form the prominent 
dish this call is known technically as " going to eat batter 
cakes at the mother-in-law's." Again they dance, sing and 
make merry till the evening. 

At the betrothal the two families usually also fix the time 
for the wedding, which usually takes place a year hence at the 
festival of the Assumption. During all this year the bride- 
groom never sees the bride. If he calls unexpectedly on her 
family in hopes of seeing her at the first alarm of his coming 
she will hide herself. Such modesty is highly prized, and 
any betrothed maiden who breaks through the estabhshed 
custom is thought no better than she should be. Thus the 
bridegroom during the year of betrothal can see the object 
of his affections only by accident. The future bride will not 
attend festivals where she is likely to meet her betrothed, 
except that of the Transfiguration which is especially a girls' 
festival and from which young men are supposed to keep away, 
though they rarely do so. 

During the time of betrothal the relations of the bridegroom 
go from time to time to the bride's house with" poamile," the 
fruits. Each one of the bridegroom's family buys a ring, a 






kerchief, and one or two pounds of sweets. They put them 
in a basket, which is given to a boy to carry on his head, the 
basket being covered with a white cloth, and they go in pro- 
cession to the bride's house. First comes the boy with the 
basket, then the sisters and cousins of him who sends the fruits. 
The bride when she receives the gifts and takes them out of the 
basket puts in their place two or three pairs of home knitted 
socks, and a handkerchief for the boy who carries the basket. 
At lent again the bridegroom's relations send similar gifts, 
with the same formalities, but instead of sweets they put in 
halva, a Turkish sweetmeat made of honey, sugar and sesame, 
which is a favourite lent en food in the Orthodox Church. For 
Easter again the bridegroom sends the bride an Easter candle 
for her to use in church at the Easter service. 


The earliest day in the summer for a wedding to be cele- 
brated is the festival of St Elijah on July 20th ; but this does 
not often happen, and if the day of St Elijah comes in the 
middle of the week, the wedding will take place on the follow- 
ing Sunday. Most of the weddings at Samarina are cele- 
brated at the festival of the Assumption whether it falls on a 
week day or a Sunday. Those which for one reason or another 
may have been delayed, will take place on one of the Sundays 
following the Assumption. The latest day for a wedding is 
the festival of St Mary the Less as the Vlachs call it, which is 
in reality the feast of the birth of the Virgin and falls on Sep- 
tember 8th. Rarely is a wedding postponed beyond this day 
or the Sunday that follows it. In the account here given of 
the customs observed at a wedding at Samarina, we have 
assumed for the sake of convenience that it takes place on a 

When the year of betrothal is nearly complete, and both 
families are ready for the wedding they finally decide some 
five or six days beforehand when it shall actually be celebrated. 
The first sign of the imminence of the wedding is the " throwing 
down of the trousseau " at the bride's home. This is done 


during the last week before the wedding, and means that the 
trousseau is ready and is laid out for inspection by any relation 
or friend who wishes to see it. The trousseau consists of 
rugs, blankets, pillow-cases, kerchiefs, stockings, frocks and 
garments of all kinds. Usually the bride's parents try to pro- 
vide her with as many clothes as she is likely to need for the rest 
of her life. If the wedding is to take place on a Sunday, on 
the Saturday morning the invitations are sent out to all the 
friends and relations of the families. Often as many as two 
or three hundred invitations are sent out. They are written 
on slips of paper in purified Vlach or Greek, but never in the 
spoken language, and distributed by small boys. They 
usually take the following or some similar form : — 

Doamna shi Domnul au haraua si Va faka kunuskut 

martarea a featU'ei a lor — ^ 


shi va parakalsesku ta si avets buna vrearea si tin'isitsi ku yinirea 
avoastra ngrunarea a lor tsi va s faka tu 15 di Avgustu oara 8 a la 
turka la bisearika Stamaria tsea Mare 

Samarina, 14 Avgustu 19 10 

Eyapscrg^m 'TrupuKCcXao 'tva, Trj^riaiTi uvpiov olzoyzviax^oig Tfjv (tt&i^ip 

70V vlov [JjOV 

(jbiToi Tfjg A.icT'Trtv/^og 

Y.v%o[JbS hoi vfjbvv zKi Kocrd to&ov co(,g 
h ^o(,^[Jijtt,^i vri TTi 20ri 8/91 1 


On Saturday afternoon the groomsmen and the brides- 
maids meet at the bridegroom's house " to put on their aprons." 
The groomsmen [furtatsl) are three or four or more unmarried 
cousins, or friends of the bridegroom who act as stewards at 
the wedding. They serve wine to the guests, lay the tables, 


and clear them, and have to do anything the bridegroom 
orders. The bridesmaids (surate) are unmarried cousins of 
the bridegroom, and are always at least one less in number 
than the groomsmen. They are the servants of the bride and 
the women guests. They lead out the bride, they take her 
to kiss the hands of guests, they wait on her and see that she 
is given food to eat. The sign of office worn by groomsmen 
and bridesmaids alike is a plain white apron (Plate XVIII 2) . 
The groomsmen fetch the musicians who have been hired 
beforehand by the bridegroom for the whole time that the 
wedding festivities last. The sums paid to these musicians 
vary according to their abilities, but a good party can com- 
mand as much as two Turkish pounds for playing at a wedding 
during the three or four days the festivities last. In addition 
they are given gifts of money by the guests and spectators. 
The leader is summoned by a nod and the giver makes the 
gift by sticking the coins on to the musician's forehead. 
The custom is that the friends and relations of one who is 
dancing should thus " tip " the musicians. For instance the 
members of the bride's family will shower coins on them when 
the bride leads the dance. Similarly a young man will stick 
a humble gift of three or four piastres on the leader's forehead 
when his best friend is dancing. A favourite coin to give is 
the big bronze hundred-para piece. 

When the groomsmen, bridesmaids and musicians are all 
assembled they go with the bridegroom's gifts to the bride, a 
ceremony which is called taking the ghdlikd to the bride. The 
ghalikd is a low, broad basket in which are placed the gifts, a 
veil, tinsel strips for decorating the bride's hair, scents, henna, 
brooches, combs, mirrors, soap, a handkerchief and sweets. 
They go in procession, the musicians leading the way followed 
immediately by the boy who carries the basket on his head 
covered with a white cloth ; the rear is brought up by the 
groomsmen, and other male friends of the bridegroom. At the 
bride's house they are given refreshments, wine, raki, Turkish 
delight, or preserves, and they sit down for a short time while the 
musicians play for any of the female members of the bride's 
family to dance if they wish. The bride empties the basket 


and puts in socks for the bridegroom and his parents, and either 
socks or handkerchiefs for the groomsmen. When they have 
finished dancing they return to the bridegroom's and dance there 
again. In the evening the groomsmen with the musicians go 
again to the bride's house, where all dance till dawn especially 
the women folk of the bride's family. The groomsmen de- 
mand that the bride should come out and dance. She then 
makes her appearance dressed in one of the gowns forming part 
of her trousseau, and dances with the senior groomsman. The 
gown she wears is dark and usually of silk but may be of any 
dark coloured stuff, and she, though holding herself rather 
stiffly, does not clasp her hands in front of her or behave in the 
doll-like fashion she has to adopt on the morrow. Sometimes 
the bridegroom will come with the groomsmen, but he is re- 
quired to sit in a corner and not make himself conspicuous or 
dance. The whole party sits down to eat at the bride's and 
many small tables are brought in, and after eating they dance 
till dawn with frequent refreshments of wine or raki. Towards 
dawn the groomsmen depart with the musicians to the bride- 
groom's. They send the musicians away to sleep, but without 
their instruments which the groomsmen hold as an earnest of 
the musicians' presence on the morrow. Then each retires 
to snatch a few hours' sleep before the real labours of the 
wedding begin. On the Saturday evening the women, but 
especially the girls of both families, put henna on the nails 
and palms of their hands, and this is also done to the 

On the Sunday morning a married sister or cousin of the 
bridegroom with a boy goes round to distribute one kulaku 
each to the nunu, groomsmen and bridesmaids. The kulaku is 
placed in a basket and covered with an embroidered cloth 
which the boy carries under his arm. This is the official 
invitation to the wedding. The receiver of the kulaku puts in 
the basket some rice or sweets, and gives refreshments to the 
bringers and one or two piastres apiece. 

Towards midday the groomsmen summon the musicians to 
the bridegroom's house where all his relations and friends 
assemble for the ceremony of shaving the bridegroom. A 


barber is called to the house, and as soon as he begins his work 
the company present throw money, piastres or halfpence, into 
his basin, and sing this Greek song which has special reference 
to the shaving of the bridegi-oom : — 

On the rock sits the bridegroom, and the rock gave forth water 
for them to shave the bridegroom. The hand which shaves him holds 
a piece of gold. Silver razor move gently, gently lest the hair be 

When the bridegroom is shaved, he is made to stand upright 
in a shallow metal dish, and changes all his clothes from head 
to foot. Every garment has to be quite new, and if he wears 
the Vlach national costume, he has to put on the white clothes 
which are the distinguishing mark of a bridegroom. While he 
is dressing those present sing a special song which is usually 
that sung also at christening feasts and has been given above. 
Meanwhile at the bride's house the bride is prepared for her 
wedding with similar ceremonies. While she is being dressed 
they sing this Greek song : — 

Upstairs, downstairs, in the lofty palaces, go mother fetch my 
hidden frocks. I would be a bride that I may worship the cross and 
kiss hands. 

While her hair is being combed they sing this Greek 
song : — 

My silver comb move gently, gently lest her hair be scattered, the 
hair of her head, and a stranger take it and make it a charm. 

As in the case of the song referring to the shaving of the 
bridegroom, so in this song too the last lines refer to the idea 
that a charm to bind a person can be made from a lock of his 
hair. Consequently when hair is cut or shaved it must not be 
scattered, but carefully collected and burnt. 

Soon after noon the wedding starts, as the phrase is, and 
before this the majority of those invited by the bridegroom's 
family will have assembled at the house. First of all the 
bridegroom attended only by the groomsmen and the male 
members of his party goes in procession with the musicians 
leading the way to the bride's home to kiss his mother-in-law's 
hand. After he has done this and they have amused them- 


selves with songs and dancing there they return to the bride- 
groom's house. After a short interval the bridegroom's party 
forms in procession once more and moves off to the nunu. The 
procession is formed as before, but this time the women of the 
bridegroom's family join and bring up the rear. The nunu is 
either a friend of the bridegroom, or some older man. He acts 
as a kind of godfather to the happy pair, and has the duty of 
exchanging the rings and crowns during the wedding ceremony. 
He also is supposed to act as godfather to the children. At 
the house of the nunu the party stop for a short time, and are 
joined by his party, for the nunu too has the right of inviting 
his friends and relations to the wedding. He invites " with 
the wooden flask " as the saying goes, sending round to all, he 
wishes to invite, a boy with a wooden flask of wine. The boy 
offers the flask to the person to be invited saying " You are 
invited by the nunu," and the one invited then takes the 
flask and drinks saying " Here's to the wedding, and good 
luck to us." When the procession moves off from the house 
of the nunu his party takes its place immediately after the 
musicians. In front of his party goes a boy carrying a tray 
on which are five wax candles, the roll of stuff for a frock 
which is his gift to the bride, the crowns if the nunu gives them, 
and some sweets mixed with barley and rice. The crowns are 
metal circlets with two raised semi-circular bands crossing one 
another on the top. If the nunu does not give the crowns then 
those belonging to the church are used, for each church has a 
pair for use at weddings. Then the whole procession returns 
again to the bridegroom's house to pick up any guests who 
may not have joined the procession hitherto, and then finally 
starts for the bride's house. 

Before the party reaches the bride's house one of the grooms- 
men mounted on a horse goes on ahead to receive sihdrik'e, and 
to give the news that the bridegroom is coming. As soon as 
the procession arrives the first groomsman goes in to put on the 
bride's shoes, for he carries with him a kerchief in which are a 
kulaku and a pair of shoes. When he kneels to put on the 
shoes he puts some small coins in them, and the girls around 
the bride hit him with their fists and do not let him go till he 


has thrown down some small coins for them to scramble for. 
They also sing the following Greek song : — 

Put me on a pair of shoes, groomsman, and a ring, and put your 
hand in your silver purse, and if you have silver coins treat us. Do 
not grieve for the gold pieces, and if you have half piastres give to the 
gallant lads. 

While the groomsman is putting on the bride's shoes her 
mother is " girding the bridegroom with his sash," for it is the 
custom that the mother-in-law should on this occasion give him 
a silken sash, which is carefully preserved and worn by the 
bridegroom on all great occasions in his after life. When the 
mother-in-law puts on the sash she places near the bridegroom's 
foot a glass full of water. When the fastening of the sash is 
done, the bridegroom throws a dollar into the glass, and then 
kicks it over. Then when the bridegroom and the groomsmen 
leave the house two male cousins of the bride refuse to let the 
groomsmen leave without giving the hundred and ten paras. 
The groomsmen pretend that they do not want to give anything 
and resist, but finally give the required coin, a bronze hundred 
para piece which was current in Samarina at a hundred and ten 
paras. The trousseau is then carried out and loaded on mules 
brought for the purpose. Meanwhile the nunu and his party 
have been singing and dancing in the courtyard outside with 
the other guests. They usually sing this Greek song, of which 
a Vlach version is known : — 

Black-eyed maidens watch us, blue-eyed maidens address us ; two 
other maids have come as well. Which shall I take, which shall I 
leave ? Black Eyes wants fine clothes ; Blue Eyes wants gold pieces. 
You are better Black Eyes, for fine clothes become you. 

After the bridegroom and his party have come out of the 
house and loaded the trousseau, they move off with the nunu 
and his party in the same order as before to the church. Then 
the bride is brought out of her home dressed in a white silk frock 
and wearing a veil ; her hair is decorated with tinsel. She carries 
herself very stiffly like a doll and moves very slowly. Her 
eyes are all but shut and she holds her hands clasped in front 
of her. She is supported on either side by a brother, a first 


cousin, or by one of the groomsmen, and is led gently forward. 
As soon as she comes out of the house she is given a glass of 
wine to drink, and when she has drunk she throws the glass 
backwards over her shoulder and breaks it. When she crosses 
the threshold she must do so with the right foot first. While 
all this is being done the bride's party sing this Vlach song : — 

They have taken you, they have seized you, my beautiful one ! 
They have taken you to foreign lands, my darling, to foreign lands 
and distant. For what cause, mother, have you driven me from my 
home ? I have not driven you forth, my girl, for I send you to your 
home and to your household. 

When the bride has come out into the courtyard these three 
songs are sung in Greek : — 

In the centre of the courtyard a partridge stands and speaks, 
" Where are you brothers ? Come here that you may send me forth ! " 
'-And do not fear tender one, we are all round about and all fire our 

To this the bridegroom's party reply : — 
Your village we have trodden, your maiden we have taken, 
and the bride's party answer : — 

Come good gossip, what great evil do I do that you should send 
the hawk to take my partridge away from me, and my parish is disgraced 
and yours is adorned. 

As the last line of the first of these three songs shows it was 
at this point that the cousins and brothers of the bride used to 
fire off guns, rifles and revolvers. After this singing is done 
the whole procession moves off to the church the bride and 
her party bringing up the rear. Often the bride is mounted 
on horseback (Plate XVI 2) and accompanied by two young 
male relations also mounted. Sometimes she even stands 
upright on the saddle. As they make the way slowly to the 
church many songs are sung. 

When at last they reach the church the nunu with the 
nund, who is his wife if he is married or his mother if he is a 
bachelor, accompanied by the boy carrying the tray with 
the crowns and other paraphernalia enter first. Next follows 


the bridegroom with the groomsmen and the bridesmaids, 
and lastly the bride with her two supporters crossing the 
threshold right foot first. All the rest of the guests remain 
outside and dance to the music provided, and with them will 
probably be one or two of the groomsmen. The dances are 
all ring-dances, those taking part in them joining hands and 
only the leader executing any movement at all elaborately. 
The members of the different parties keep together and do 
not intermingle, and are arranged thus : first come the men 
of all the parties, who do not always keep apart, next the 
women of the party of the mmu, next the women of the bride- 
groom's party, and lastly the women of the bride's party. 
Thus a dance consisting of from five to seven rings is formed, 
the inner ring being the leading one. 

The wedding service is done according to the liturgy of 
the Orthodox Eastern Church and is read in Greek, as far as 
Samarina is concerned, though the priests are of course Vlachs 
and natives of Samarina. As a rule two priests officiate at 
a wedding especially on days when there are three or four 
weddings at the same church. When the bridal party enter 
the church they stand in front of a table placed in the middle 
of the nave. On the table is a New Testament, and by it are 
placed the crowns and the kulaku brought by the nunu 
from which three small pieces are cut, the rings, and a glass 
of wine. On the west side of the table stands the bridegroom 
on the right with the bride on his left. Immediately behind 
them is the nunu ; the nund stands on the bride's left and by 
them is the boy with the tray. Around them where they 
please stand the groomsmen, the bridesmaids, and any other 
friends or relations who have come into the church. As soon 
as the priest begins the first prayer each groomsman has to put 
on his book one or two halfpennies. When the priest has 
finished the prayer he takes the four candles and lights them, 
and gives one each to the bride and bridegroom, and two to 
the nunu. Then he takes the rings, makes the sign of the 
cross with them three times, and puts the bride's ring on the 
bridegroom, and the bridegroom's ring on the bride's hand. 
Then the nunu changes the rings three times and finally the 


priest joins their hands by Hnking their Httle fingers together. 
After some prayers the priest takes the crowns, and having 
made the sign of the cross with them to both bride and bride- 
groom, places them on their heads. In the meantime the 
nund has spread on their shoulders the roll of stuff fastening 
it with pins. Then the nunu with arms crossed changes the 
crowns three times. At the end of the service the priest 
takes the bridegroom by the right hand, and he in his turn 
holds the bride by the hand, while the nunu supports them 
from behind. In this manner all four circle three times 
round the table stopping to make a reverence at each side in 
turn. During this the company present take handfuls of 
sweets and rice from the tray carried by the boy, and pelt 
the bridegroom, bride and nunu. The small boys, who have 
managed to elude the verger and squeeze into the church, go 
scrambling for the sweets about the floor. This done the 
father-in-law and mother-in-law go up to the bridegroom and 
bride and kiss them first on the forehead, then on the cheeks. 
The bride kisses their right hands and as she does so they 
give her a small coin. After them the groomsmen and brides- 
maids and any near relation present come and salute them in 
the same way. As soon as they have kissed the bride the 
others, who stand round, thump them heartily on the shoulders. 
With this the wedding ceremony ends and all go out of the 
church. If, as is sometimes done, the service takes place in 
the bridegroom's house everything is done in exactly the 
same manner. 

The first to come out of the church is the nunu, next the 

bridegroom, and last the bride again crossing the threshold 

right foot first. If while the service has been going on another 

wedding party has entered, the other members of it crowd 

round the bride so that the bride who has just been married 

shall not see the other as she goes out. This is done because 

it is believed that if the newly married bride sees one or more 

other brides in the church her husband will ha\e just so many 

wives besides herself, or in other words that she will not live 

long and that her husband will marry again. As soon as 

they have come out of the church they drive the musicians 


away from the dance, and form one large dancing ring. This 
is lead by the nunu, and in the middle between the women and 
men the bridegroom is placed with his mother-in-law on his 
left hand. On the other side of the bridegroom are the grooms- 
men. The bride stands apart attended by the nund and 
bridesmaids. But after the dance has gone round once or 
twice the nunu goes up to the bride, takes her and places her 
in the ring on the bridegroom's left so that she is between 
her husband and her mother. They dance to this Greek 
song : — 

Come out youths and dance, come out maidens and sing, that you 
may see and learn how love is caught. It is caught by the eye, it 
descends to the lips and from the lips to the heart ; there it takes root 
and does not move, but only sends out roots and fibres, and green 

After they have danced a little they break up the ring and 
the procession is re-formed in the same order which was ob- 
served on the road to the church. Then they move off to 
the bridegroom's house singing songs of different kinds. As 
soon as they reach the house the party of the nunu and the 
women begin to dance in the court, while the bridegroom's 
party sing this Greek song till the bride approaches the door : — 

Come out mother and mother-in-law to see your son who is coming ; 
he is bringing a partridge dressed with gold coins and she is hidden 
by them. Enter, enter little partridge into the bridegroom's house ; 
here build your nest and here nestle. 

At the door stands the mother-in-law waiting for the bride. 
She has in her hands an apron, a pair of buckles for a belt, or a 
chain of steel or silver to which a knife is attached, a plate with 
butter, a lump of carded white wool off the distaff, and a 
kulaku. As the bride crosses the threshold right foot foremost, 
she takes with three fingers a little butter, and anoints the 
lintel above her head three times with it. Then the mother-in- 
law breaks over the bride's head the kulaku, the fragments of 
which are snatched by the boys and youths standing round to 
the great discomfort of the bride who cannot see what is being 
done above her head, Next the mother-in-law pulls the hand- 


ful of wool to pieces over the bride's head saying, " Long hfe 
to you, and prosperity, and may you grow white hke this wool ! " 
and kisses her on the forehead, when the bride bends to kiss 
her hand. Finally the bride is invested with the apron, and 
the buckles or chain as signifying that she is now mistress 
of the house. The whole party, bridegroom, bride, nunu, 
groomsmen and bridesmaids, then go upstairs and sit down for 
a short time. Then they come out into the courtyard or some 
suitable open space near the house and dance (Plate XVII). 
The bridegroom dances with the men, and the bride with the 
women of the bridegroom's family. But if the nunu dances and 
leads the first dance as is usual on these occasions, he dances 
in the men's ring, the bridegroom in that of the women of his 
family, and the bride with the women of her family. The 
dances are all ring-dances, and as a rule at the request of the 
nuni't when he is leading the dance the bridegroom and bride 
dance together, each in turn leading the ring. In olden days 
the nunu acted as master of the ceremonies at the festivities 
on the evening of the wedding and his orders were supposed 
to be obeyed without question, but now this is nearly obsolete. 
The dancing continues till dusk and then the guests begin to 
depart. First to go are the relations and friends of the bride. 
The bridegroom and bride see them off walking a little way with 
them, and they and their companions sing in Greek : — 

If you are bent on departing farewell to you. If you pass by ray 
mother's house greetings to her. 

As each says good-bye he shakes hands with the bridegroom, 
and kisses the bride on the forehead when she stoops to kiss 
his hand, and he at the same moment " tips " her by slipping 
a small coin into her hand. Men say good-bye first, then women 
and lastly the girls, and as they go they sing in Greek : — 

We started with the sun, we depart late with the moon. I am 
coming and you are sleeping, come wake up that you may enjoy life. 
Wretched Platamona what are the maidens within your walls ? 
Grecian maidens, Turkish maidens and chieftains' little daughters. 
High up in a kiosk they sit and watch for the ships that come from 
Egypt laden with rouge. 



As soon as they reach the house of the bride's parents they 
dance in the courtyard there singing : — 

From the courtyard a maid is missing, and from the parish one is 
missing, and from her mother one is missing, and from her brothers 
one is missing. 

After this they separate and each returns to his home. 

After the bride's family has gone the bridegroom and bride 
see the nu7tu off with similar ceremonies and sing this song in 
Greek : — 

Stay nunii to-night as well ; I have five lambs ready roasted, and 
another five ready spitted and a stewed hare. 

The nunu however is not to be tempted by such good cheer 
and departs with all his company. Occasionally the bride- 
groom will see him home. 

As it is by now dusk the bridal party and the guests go 
upstairs into the bridegroom's house and dance till dinner is 
ready. As the company is numerous three or four tables are 
required. The bridegroom sits at one table with the elders, 
and the rest of the male guests as they please at the others. 
The bride sits on a stool on one side and rises whenever the 
men drink wine. When they have finished eating they sing 
songs while still sitting at table, and they tease the bride and 
make jests at her expense in the hope of making her laugh and 
so lose for a moment her modest composure. Later in the 
evening they begin to dance again and then many young men, 
relations or friends of the bridegroom, bride or of one of the 
groomsmen, will come in to make merry. When the guests 
arrive and sit down the bride is led by two bridesmaids, one 
on each side of her, to kiss their hands, and they, when the 
bride takes their hands in hers, slip into her palm a small coin 
never less than a halfpenny. On days when there are several 
weddings the young men of Samarina who are not closely 
connected with any family that has a wedding will form bands 
about six or eight strong, and go visiting the various houses 
where there are weddings in the evening and join in the dancing. 
At the bridegroom's home the dancing, and other festivities 


are continued till shortly before dawn. Many of course retire 
to sleep at an earlier hour, but the bridal party does not cease 
merrymaking till just before dawn. Then they send away the 
musicians again without their instruments, and each tries to 
enjoy a few hours' sleep, before the festivities of the Monday are 

Early on the Monday morning the bridegroom's mother, the 
bridesmaids, and other female relations of the family are astir 
and set about preparing food, for soon after midday the bride's 
relatives will come with bubghala. A boy with a wooden 
flask of wine in his hand is sent round to all the relations of the 
bride to bid them prepare, for soon after noon they are to go to 
the bridegroom's with the bubghala. Presently from all parts 
of the village where relations of the bride live women and girls 
are to be seen hastening to the home of the bride's parents. 
Each carries under her arm a broad, shallow basket covered 
with an embroidered cloth (Plate XVHI i). All assemble 
at the bride's home and anxiously await the coming of the 
groomsmen with the musicians. Soon after their arrival, a 
procession is formed and they go to the bridegroom's. In front 
of all go two groomsmen, carrying a long wooden spit on which 
is a lamb roasted whole ; they are followed by the musicians, 
the other groomsmen, the male members of the bride's family, 
and the female relatives of the bride each with her basket. 
At the door of the bridegroom's house a groomsman awaits 
them with a jug of wine and several glasses. They go up- 
stairs where the groomsmen serve refreshments. Presently the 
tables are spread and they eat the dishes prepared by the 
bridegroom's family. When these are finished, each female 
relative of the bride brings out from her basket the dishes she 
has prepared and distributes them round the tables. This 
meal is called bubghala because together with the batter cakes 
and other sweets which are made for it, it is the custom that 
each should also make one dish of bubghala, which consists 
of breadcrumb crumbled up and fried with sugar. After 
eating they sit at table and sing songs for a short time and then 
go out and dance in the courtyard till dusk when the bride's 
relations depart with the same ceremonies that were observed 


on the first day. The other guests stay at the bridegroom's 
and dance and merrymake till midnight or later. 

As said above all the trousseau is taken to the bridegroom's 
on the Sunday when the bride is taken from her home to the 
church. But one dress, the second best, is left behind at the 
bride's home. This is brought to her by her relations on 
the Monday when they come with bubghala and those who 
bring this frock, dress the bride in it there and then, and she 
wears it throughout the rest of the festivities. 

On the Tuesday after lunch the bridegroom's family, the 
groomsmen, and the bridesmaids meet together again at the 
bridegroom's. They put a jug in the bride's hand and take 
her out to draw water. First in the procession go the musicians, 
next follows the bridegroom with the groomsmen and other 
men, and the bride conducted by the bridesmaids and escorted 
by women brings up the rear. Three conduits are visited in 
turn, and as they near each they sing this in Greek : — 

If Anthitsa comes for water, do not give her water, but only ask 
her, " Anthitsa whom do you love ? Yianni the merchant." 

When they reach the conduit the bride fills the jug with 
water and empties it, she refills it and empties it again, and 
does so yet a third time. When she fills the jug for the third 
time the bridegroom throws a few halfpennies into it, and 
these are emptied out with the water into the mud and eagerly 
scrambled for by the small boys who crowd round. While 
the bride does this the rest sing in Vlach : — 

Fill sister, empty brother, to cause our sister anger. 

The first conduit visited is that nearest to the house and 
that to which the bride will have to go to draw water for daily 
use. The other two are chosen according to fancy, and 
exactly the same things are done at both of them. From the 
third conduit they return to the bridegroom's and dance till 
the evening. As they reach the house they sing in Greek : — 

Let my mother-in-law know that I come from the spring cold and 
frozen to find the fire alight and the pasty in the oven. 


Early on the Wednesday morning the groomsmen rise and 
go about to find a rolling-pin, for on this day they set the 
bride to make a pita. As they approach the bride they bring 
out from under their great -coats one hand which holds a rose 
twig with as many thorns as possible. This they show to the 
bride and ask, " Do you see bride, what a fine rolling-pin I 
have brought you ? ' ' She smiles in a sickly manner. When 
all are assembled they choose out the rolling-pin which has 
most thorns, and is most crooked. Then some ashes are put 
into a flat tin dish and the bride is set to stir in the yeast. 
She pours water on the ashes and the groomsmen, the brides- 
maids, and the others throw halfpennies into the ashes. As 
soon as the bride puts out a hand to mix in the yeast the grooms- 
men flick her hands with the stinging nettles which they have 
in their other hands hidden under their coats. Next a pastry 
board is brought and the bride takes a handful of the wet ashes 
and begins to roll out the leaves of pastry. When she very 
timidly lays her hands on the thorny rolling-pin to roll out 
the ashes, they sting her again with the nettles and so the 
play is carried on till the bridegroom intervenes and takes the 
bride away. 

The same day in the afternoon the bridegroom, bride, 
groomsmen, and bridesmaids and other women go to the 
bride's mother to eat batter cakes. There they eat, sing, 
and dance till the evening. With the ceremonies of this day 
the duties of the groomsmen and bridesmaids come to an end, 
and when they leave the bridegroom's house on this evening 
after escorting the bridal pair home, they take off their aprons, 
which hitherto they have worn continually, as a sign that their 
duties are done, and give them to the bride. 

On the Thursday, Sunday and Tuesday evenings following 
the bride and bridegroom go to dine and sleep at the home of 
the parents, which is known as going azhoru. 

Some time after the wedding the bridal pair invite both 
the families and entertain them. What is done on such occa- 
sions depends on the pleasure of the hosts and guests. On 
the Sundays and other feast-days succeeding the wedding- 
day the bride accompanied by her mother-in-law and one or 


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liKIUt AM) l;klDUi.Jx""M Willi I HE BKl OESM AIDS AM> i , Ki " .-,] -,M i: N 



two other women goes to visit the nunu, the groomsmen and 
the bridesmaids, and make gifts to them. To the nunu " she 
throws a shirt and socks " as the saying goes, and he " tips " 
her with a dollar. To the groomsmen she gives a pair of 
socks, and if she pleases to their mothers a pair of stockings, 
and they give in return five piastre pieces. The bridesmaids 
and their mothers are given stockings, and they also are ex- 
pected to give five piastres. This ceremony is the last obser- 
vance directly connected with the wedding according to the 
modern custom of Samarina, though very probably in days 
gone by the festivities were much more protracted. For 
instance Papayeoryiu has noted many observances which are 
no longer used to-day. He says that at the betrothal the rings 
were put into a glass of wine when the bridegroom's party 
produced the betrothal gifts. Afterwards before the formal 
exchange of the rings they were crossed three times in the glass 
by a young man whose father and mother were both alive. 

As to the wedding customs he says that the preparations 
began on the Thursday before. On this day the bridegroom 
sent the ghalikd to the bride. On the same day too the grooms- 
men and bridesmaids, who were chosen from those whose 
fathers and mothers were still alive, met at the bridegroom's 
house to make the bread for the wedding. The yeast was 
mixed in by the first bridesmaid who carried a knife and pistol 
while the others sang this Greek song : — 

Your first leavening a maiden leavens for you, a maiden with 
mother, with father, with brothers, with cousins. 

On the Friday the trousseau was laid out for inspection at 
the bride's home, and on the Saturday the groomsmen went 
round with a wooden flask of wine to invite the guests. Most 
of the changes seem to have been made with a view to shorten- 
ing the wedding festivities and making them simpler and so 
less costly. Throughout the wedding customs there are many 
indications both in the songs and the various observances 
which seem to point to the fact that marriage by capture was 
recently the Vlach custom, but we have found no other 
evidence of this. 



When any person is dead an old man or woman is called 
in to lay out the body and put on it new clothes. Then the 
body is laid out in the centre of the room with an oil light 
burning at its head and with an ikon laid on its breast. The 
women of the family then come and weep round the body and 
sing dirges. The Vlach women are noted for these dirges, 
and often improvise them. At Samarina the dirges may be 
either in Greek or Vlach, and it is noticeable that the typical 
instance of this custom given by Fauriel refers to a woman of 
the Vlach village of Metsovo. If death occurs in the morning, 
the funeral takes place the same afternoon ; but if it occurs 
in the afternoon, the funeral is postponed till the next morn- 
ing. When the appointed hour arrives word is sent to the 
priests who put on their vestments, and come to the house. 
After the priest has said a prayer four men raise the body 
and put it in the coffin. On the spot where the body was 
laid out they break a glass. Then the funeral procession is 
formed. In front of all goes a boy carrying the coffin lid ; 
next come two women with broad, shallow baskets under 
their arms, covered with cloths. One of the baskets contains 
the coUyva which is blessed by the priest and distributed to 
those present after the funeral, and the other some dishes of 
meat, which are also eaten after the funeral. Following them 
come two or more boys carrying the long poles on which are 
fixed representations of cherubim. On each pole a hand- 
kerchief is tied by the family of the dead man. Then follows 
the priest chanting with two chanters. Following him four men 
come carrying the body in the open coffin. Under the coffin 
at each end are fixed short poles which project on either side 
and serve as handles. To these also handkerchiefs are tied 
by the family of the dead. Last come the mourners, the men 
first and the women behind with black kerchiefs thrown over 
their heads or shoulders. On the way to the church the 
priest halts several times and turning round says a prayer 
while the others stand still. As soon as the church is reached 
two men stand on either side of the door and distribute wax 


tapers to all the mourners. The body is placed in the middle 
of the church, the women assemble round it, and at the head 
stands one of the immediate relations of the dead, the mother, 
a sister, or a cousin. Round the coihn lighted candles or 
tapers are placed and the mourners also light the tapers that 
have been distributed to them. When the service is finished 
the mourners kiss the dead for the last time on the forehead. 
Then the cofhn is lifted and they go to the grave in the church- 
yard. When the cofifin has been laid in the grave the pillow 
is removed from it and in its place is put a stone or a pillow- 
case filled with earth. After the priest has said another 
prayer and thrown a little wine and earth on the face of the 
dead, the lid is laid on the cofhn and the grave is filled in. 
Three or four days after the funeral the family of the dead 
place a monument on the grave. This takes the form of a 
long oblong box of planks inverted. At the head is a small 
box-like cupboard in which they light tapers or small oil 
lights. Again on the top of this a wooden cross is placed, on 
which they usually write the name and age of the dead. 

After the boiled wheat and the food that has been brought 
are distributed and eaten the mourners return to the house 
of the dead man's family. At the door stands a man with 
a vessel of water, and a shovel with some lumps of charcoal 
that have been lighted and put out. He pours water over 
the hands of the mourners who thus wash their hands, and 
as each enters the house a piece of the charcoal is thrown after 
him. They stay a short time in the house and condole with 
the family, and each goes home, though some stay to eat 
there. At a funeral the only refreshment offered is coffee, 
preserves are never offered, and when the mourners receive 
the refreshments the only wish uttered is, " Long life 
to your excellencies ! " On the second day after the death 
the women of the family go to the grave and wail by it, and 
distribute boiled wheat again. This is called " giving the 
third." On the ninth day they "give the ninth" in a 
similar way and on the fortieth day the fortieth, and after a 
year they give the year. For a year from the death the family 
of the dead gives as refreshment to guests or visitors nothing 


but coffee, and never preserves or sweets. They take no part 
in merrymaking of any kind, and the women wear a black 
kerchief on their heads for the whole 3^ear. After five or 
seven years the grave is opened and the bones are collected 
and placed in a small wooden box or in a bag and put in the 
bone-house which is attached to every churchyard. Often too 
on Sundays or festivals after church the women of the family 
will go to the churchyard and sit and wail over the graves of 
their dead. At Whitsuntide they celebrate the special festival 
of the dead as usual in the Orthodox Church. None of these 
funeral customs can be described as peculiarly Vlach. For 
instance in the Greek villages of the Zaghori when the body 
is carried out of the house a glass or jug is broken in the gate 
of the courtyard to prevent the dead taking anything else 
with him from the house and to break the power of Charon. 
There too the bones must not be dug from the grave in the 
even years after the burial, but in the odd years, three, five 
and so on. 



NancoT] a'aapfiiraTS'ape cr(rvaTro'r] Travayy'rjppH 
2 apfinaTS'ape v'iS ko. aapnTrara'apTja Trjaeprj. 

Then a holiday and then a festival, 

A holiday not like the holiday of yesterday. 

Codex Demonie, f. 91 

THIS chapter is only a fragment for it deals primarily 
with the festivals and folklore of Samarina as far 
as we came in contact with them, and we record 
them here to complete our picture of Vlach life as illustrated 
by that village. To this we have added notes on folk customs 
elsewhere which we have seen or enquired about on the spot. 
The fair of Ayios Akhillios at Ghrevena can hardly be 
considered as a festival for it serves mainly as a meeting-place 
for the families on their way up to their villages, Samarina, 
Avdhela, Perivoli and Smiksi. The first true festival occurs 
about a month after this. It takes place on the day of St 
Peter and St Paul, one of the great feasts of the Orthodox 
Eastern Church, and the two following days. All the mule- 
teers come back to the village for it, and the families, which 
cannot get up in time for the fair of Ghrevena, will try to 
reach the village by Mavronoro, which is the special name for 
this festival at Samarina and its three nomad neighbours. 
The Vlachs of Verria, who are colonists from these four vil- 
lages, also still preserve this name for the festival. It is 
derived from the Kupatshar village of Mavronoro near 
Ghrevena, where in days gone by they used to hold a fair on 
the day of St Peter and St Paul which was very well attended. 
Pouqueville refers to the fair, and on the flyleaf of a book 
in the monastery of St Barlaam at Meteora some manuscript 
notes mention the price silk fetched at this fair in 1786. It 


was held at Mavronoro till about i860 and was then trans- 
ferred to Ghrevena as the fair of Ayios Akhillios, when that 
town became the seat of a kaimmakam. The exact date of 
the transference is unknown, but natives of Samarina at 
Verria who left their village after 1854 have assured us that 
they remember the fair being held at Mavronoro. In Samarina 
itself the origin of the name Mavronoro for the day of St Peter 
and St Paul is unknown, a fact which shews how soon in 
countries which have no written history the origins of things 
become obscured. Apparently just as all the Vlachs of Sama- 
rina and its neighbours attend the fair of Ghrevena to-day, 
so in days gone by they all flocked to Mavronoro. To-day at 
Samarina Mavronoro as a festival is not marked by any special 
festivities. After the church service which takes place at 
Great St Mary's, because the side chapel of that church is 
dedicated to these saints, it is the custom to pay calls. The 
other two holidays if the weather is fine and warm are devoted 
to picnics at the monastery or at the spring in the woods of 
K'urista. The comparative unimportance of this festival is 
due to the fact that it comes early in the summer. 

A few days before Mavronoro is the day of St John the 
Baptist, on June 24th. This is celebrated merely as a holi- 
day and is not of any great consequence as a church festival, 
but at Samarina it is notable for the customs observed by the 
girls. On the eve of St John's Day the girls collect together 
in bands of between fifteen and twenty and select one as their 
leader who is called Arumana. They then dress her as a 
bride with any scraps of finery they can procure (Plate XX i) , 
They take a metal jug into which each member of the band 
throws a flower to which she has tied some trinket of white 
metal belonging to her which she can easily recognise. Then 
they start in a kind of bridal procession, all who can holding 
umbrellas over their heads especially over the bride who is led 
along by two of their number at the head of the procession. 
As they start they sing this Vlach song : — 

Look how beautiful she is, white and rosy like a Turkish woman. 
Look at her chest how she seems like a chosen ram. Look at her 
apron how it seems like cheese out of the skin. 


They make their way to three conduits in turn singing any 
songs they please on the way, but the majority are in Vlach, 
though Greek songs are heard. As they approach the first 
conduit they sing in Greek : — 

Little spring fenced with stones give us water to drink that you 
may see how we sing. 

Then the bride takes the jug and fills and empties it three 
times exactly as is done in the wedding custom while the 
others sing : — 

Fill sister, empty brother, to cause our sister anger. 
As they move on to the next conduit they sing in Vlach : — 

Where shall we stay to-night ? Beyond the sea a caravan passes 
loaded with salt and a big lad mounted on a mule with his forelock 
combed and his movistache twisted. 

At each of the other two conduits the same performance is 
gone through, but when they leave the last they keep the metal 
jug filled with water. They then take the jug and hide it for 
the night in some secret place known to them alone. Usually 
they choose a place in the meadows on the outskirts of the 
village, for the boys and young men are on the watch to try 
to find it and play tricks with it. The next evening on the 
day of St John the Baptist they collect together again, fetch 
the jug, and go in procession with the bride and repeat the 
performance of the evening before in all its details except that 
they go to seven conduits instead of three. Then they retire 
to some quiet spot and take their trinkets out of the 
jug of water singing suitable songs as they do so. They draw 
their trinkets one by one and each as she does so looks at it 
carefully and tells her fortune by it. She can thus decide 
whether she will have good luck or bad, and — this is a sub- 
ject of the greatest interest to all girls — find out whether 
she will marry 

Tinker, tailor. 
Soldier, sailor. 
Apothecary, ploughboy, thief. 


The trinkets they call klidhone which is Greek, and this 
custom of telling fortunes on St John's Day by means of 
klidhone is well known in Modern Greek folklore. The custom 
however has been borrowed by the Vlachs and is well known 
in all the Vlach villages of the south and centre. At Khsura 
and Neveska for example the girls go out to the meadows on 
the eve of St John's Day and pick a special flower to which 
they tie their trinkets. They have a procession in much the 
same way as at Samarina and as they pass through the streets 
people put money in the jug. At Samarina however they do 
not regard the custom merely as that of the klidhone, but as a 
rain-charm. There seems little doubt hat we have here two 
observances blended into one, the klidhone and the other well- 
known custom of Pirpirund. The Pirpirund custom is used 
as a rain-charm throughout the Balkans in times of drought 
in the summer, but here at Samarina it seems to have been 
made annual. We have never heard of the Pirpirund obser- 
vances, as such, being done at Samarina, but the word is well 
known in the village. For instance, " Mi adrai Pirpirund dip," 
" I became a regular Pirpirund," is a slang phrase for " I was 
wet through." 

The Pirpirund custom amongst the Vlachs is in brief as 
follows. If after the day of St Thomas, April 21st, it does 
not rain for three weeks it is very serious for the crops and 
meadows, because the early summer rains are most important 
for their proper development. Then a girl, usually a poor girl 
or a gipsy, is taken and stripped and then dressed in leaves and 
flowers and made to walk in procession through the village. 
The girls with her sing suitable songs and she herself dances. 
As she passes the houses people throw water over her and 
wet her thoroughly. The song usually sung is the following 
or some variant of it : — 

Pirpiruna, Saranduna, give rain, give, that the fields may grow, 
the fields and the vineyards, the grass and the meadows. 

We have heard of this being done at Turia where the girl 
is now not naked, but lightly clad and decked with leaves 
and flowers. Wherever there are Vlachs this custom is known 


and the girl who takes the principal part is called Pirpirund, 
Perpund, or Pdparund. In Northern Greece, but not south of 
Epirus and Thessaly, it is known as Perpenma, Perperia, 
Papparuna and Porpatira. It flourishes in Bulgaria in the 
east as Peperuda and in the north as Pemperuga. In Roumania 
it is called Paparudd or Pdpdlugd, and in Servia and Dalmatia 
Dodole or Dudule. The origin of the custom has been claimed 
by all these races. The Roumanians and Vlachs point out that 
Pdparund and Pirpirund are words that occur in their language, 
and mean " poppy " and " butterfly," but they fail to explain 
what poppies and butterflies have to do with rain-charms. 
Those who claim a Hellenic origin overlook the point that 
it only occurs in North Greece, where there is so much mixed 
blood, and not in Crete and the south, and they provide a 
Greek derivation for Perperia and Porpatira and say it means 
merely procession, but it is hard to see why any procession 
should be a rain-charm. In Bulgarian too the word Peperuda 
means butterfly, and it seems that the custom, if its name is 
any criterion, is really Slavonic. One of the few old Slavonic 
pagan gods, whose names are known, was Perun the Thunder- 
God, whose name at once suggests Pirpirund, and it is per- 
fectly natural that he should have to do with rain especially 
in the summer-time. Sir Arthur Evans has recorded that near 
Uskub he found that the inhabitants of a village Moslem and 
christian alike were in the habit of pouring libations of wine 
over a Latin inscription to Juppiter in order to produce rain, 
though they had no knowledge as to what the stone said. 
We were shewn a spot near Monastir where an inscription lies 
buried, but no one can dig it up, for it would never stop raining 
if they did. When ancient inscribed stones still have such 
power, it is not hard to believe that Perun is still invoked 
to-day to send the summer showers. 

The next festival after Mavronoro is that of the Ayii Anar- 
yiri, St Cosmas and St Damian, whose day falls on the ist of 
July. This day is observed as a holiday and a service is held 
in the church of St Athanasius because its side chapel is dedi- 
cated to them. Next on July 20th follows the much more 
important festival of St Elijah for which all muleteers will try 


to return. They have time between Mavronoro and St EHjah 
to make one journey down into Thessaly and back, since it 
takes them from eight to ten days each way allowing for halts 
and the selling and buying of their merchandise. This is the 
day when the whole parish of St Elijah wears its best clothes 
and is at home to receive callers (Plate XIX). All the village 
first attends the service in the church, and the rest of the 
day will be spent in social entertainments such as calls and 
picnics. On July 26th follows the festival of Ayia Paraskevi 
to whom the monastery is dedicated, and the whole village 
spends the day there. Family parties are made up consisting 
of men, women, boys and girls, all mixing together on equal 
terms, and soon after dawn they start for the monastery 
laden with bread, wine, sweetmeats and a lamb ready to be 
roasted and any other provisions they need to enable them to 
pass the day in the most enjoyable manner. Each family 
selects some shady spot in the meadows round the monastery 
and after attending the service in the church roasts its lamb 
and consumes its eatables. The day ends with a general 
dance of all those present and they return home in the evening. 
On August the 6th the other church at the monastery that 
called Ayios Sotir celebrates the day of the Transfiguration, 
which is a women's festival, for it is the day when the un- 
married girls communicate. They have duly fasted for the 
previous week and early in the morning start for the monastery 
to attend service in the church. The boys and young men, 
who are expected to keep away, will sit on the hill of the 
church of St Elijah to see what girls are going, and then if they 
think it worth while, will follow them to the monastery. 
The only other men who go on such days will be the fathers or 
husbands of the women going to communicate and any men 
who have been invited by the abbot to stay the night with 
him and sample the good cheer of the monastery. From this 
day up till the day of the Assumption the whole village gives 
its mind towards preparing for that great festival, and every- 
one is occupied with thoughts of marriage and giving in 
marriage. The only break is provided by the festival of St 
Athanasius which is held in the church of that name on a 







Sunday about a week before the Assumption. This is not 
the proper day of St Athanasius, for that falls on January 
1 8th. But it is the rule that every church at Samarina should 
have a festival during the summer in order to collect money 
through the offerings of those who attend. The church of St 
Athanasius can have no proper festival in the summer except 
the unimportant one of the Ayii Anaryiri, and so it celebrates 
the day of St Athanasius out of due season with the pious 
object of obtaining money for church expenses. 

About three days before the day of the Assumption shep- 
herds from all the country round appear in the village with the 
pick of their lambs, for it is the custom that every pater- 
familias at Samarina should roast and eat his own lamb on 
this day just as at Easter. The green before Great St Mary's 
resembles a sheep fair and there is much animated haggling, 
the deceitful Vlach of Samarina attempting to outwit his 
subtle Greek and Kupatshar neighbours. In the evenings 
the gipsy musicians are to be heard in the wineshops round the 
misohori, and much drinking and dancing goes on in order 
to welcome friends and relations who have come up for the 
annual festival. It is probably highly necessary to drink 
good luck and long life to these new arrivals, for most of them 
will either be about to be married or will be thinking of pro- 
posing for the hand of some girl. When August 15th dawns 
the whole village flocks to the service at Great St Mary's, 
and it often happens that the bishop of Ghrevena comes up 
specially to officiate on this occasion. After the service all 
go home to eat their lambs and to prepare for the weddings 
which take place soon after noon. Since sixteen or more 
weddings may take place on this day, it will easily be under- 
stood that for the rest of this day the whole village is given up 
to singing and dancing, eating and drinking and all kinds of 
amusements. The festival of the Assumption continues with 
gradually decreasing vigour for a week, and on the two days 
that immediately follow the 15th of August after the service 
in the church a great combined dance of the whole village 
takes place. They dance to songs on the green of Great St 
Mary's. Two long rings are formed, the inner of men and 


the outer of women, and these reach all round the green from 
one extremity to the other (Plate IV 2). The men are all 
in their best white clothes and the women conspicuous with 
the bright red braid on their sarkd's. Towards the end of 
the week as the wedding ceremonies come to an end the news 
runs through the village first that one and then that another 
has become betrothed, and so the feasting that accompanies 
betrothals is substituted for the weddings. One form of 
amusement is replaced by another, and the old men and 
women, who can no longer dance, sit at their doors in the 
sun and gossip and discuss how often the would-be bridegroom 
had been " beaten " in his previous efforts to secure a bride. 
In the evenings bands of boys and young men will be seen 
strolling round the village and visiting first one conduit and 
then another. They do this in order to see the girls, who will 
be drawing water shortly before dusk, and the attentions of the 
young men naturally cause much giggling and blushing amongst 
them. Thus they pass the time till the feast of St Mary 
the Less on September 8th which marks the end of the wedding 
season, and the day of the Beheading of St John the Baptist, 
a strict fast which comes in the middle of this period, is a 
welcome relief to the feasting. After St Mary the Less, which 
is a minor edition of the festival of the Assumption, people 
begin to leave the village and the families get ready for the 
fair at Konitsa and begin to think of paying their bills for the 
summer. When the fair of Konitsa is over and the day of 
reckoning is done, they pack up and caravans of families go 
down through the gathering rains to spend the dark days of 
winter in foreign towns. 

The winter has its festivals no less than the summer, 
there is St Demetrius on October 26th, St Michael on November 
8th, and St Nicholas on December 6th. But these for the 
Vlachs in general are merely church festivals and holidays. 
It is with the approach of Christmas that they celebrate a 
great festival that marks the middle of their winter, for then 
they know that every day brings them nearer to the time 
when they will go out up to their native hills again. On 
Christmas Eve in each house a big fire is made to keep Christ 


warm. A shovel is put into it and the ashes are not removed 
till Epiphany and the fire must be kept continually alight. 
The boys form bands and go wandering about and knock at 
door after door with a big stick and sing in Vlach : — 

Kolinda, melinda, give me the cake mother for Christ is born in 
the stable of the oxen for fear of the Jews. 

or in Greek : — 

Give me a cake mother that we may go further ; as this year my 
lads, as this year, so next year too. 

They sing till the door is opened and they are given fruit such 
as currants, chestnuts and walnuts. The leader of the band 
carries a long thread at his waist with a small piece of stick 
at the end. On this they thread the cakes given them, which 
are like doughnuts, with a hole in the centre. In other days 
when the boys entered the house they sat down a little, and 
after a time the householder threw currants and peas on the 
floor. The boys then went down on hands and knees and 
picked them up with their mouths baaing like sheep. Some- 
times each house made a kind of Christmas cake nicely decor- 
ated on top with sesame seed and currants which was kept 
till Epiphany. Then it was sprinkled with a few drops of 
the newly blessed water, broken into pieces and given to 
sheep, goats, horses, mules and cattle to keep them well and 
healthy. On Christmas Day when he comes out of church 
each person takes a leaf of the holm oak or a pinch of salt and 
throws it into the fire saying : — " With brides, with sons-in- 
law, with children, with lambs, with kids. For many years ! " 
If what is put in the fire crackles all will be well for the year 
and vice versa. 

During the twelve days that elapse between Christmas and 
Epiphany the Vlachs believe that the mysterious beings called 
Karkandzal'i or Karkalanzd wander about the earth from 
dark till cockcrow. They especially haunt the springs and 
defile the water, and it is very dangerous to meet them. They 
are finally driven away by the blessing of the waters at Epi- 
phany. Between the Day of St Basil, New Year's Day, and 


Epiphany a curious mumming performance takes place which 
is well known throughout Thessaly, Macedonia and Thrace. 
The object of this mumming is to drive away KarkandzaVi. 
Who these mysterious beings are no one can tell, they appear 
in Greek folklore wherever there are Greeks, Turks believe in 
them and so do the Vlachs, but we have not yet information 
as to whether they appear in Bulgarian folklore. The name 
varies between Kallikandzaros and Karkandzalu and every 
place which believes in them has some different form. Their 
origin and the meaning of the name are equally obscure and 
the recent ingenious attempt to trace their ancestry to the 
Centaurs does not seem satisfactory. The Samariniats call the 
mummers Ligutshari and the young men delight to make up 
such bands. In other times they would make up the band on 
New Year's Day and after performing in their own village 
spend the days before Epiphany in wandering round other 
villages in the neighbourhood always returning home for 
Epiphany. It sometimes happened that two bands met on 
the road and then there was a struggle to see which was the 
better. Neither would wish to yield except to force, for the 
weaker band had to salute the leader of the stronger. Thus it 
has been known to end in bloodshed, so they say, and near 
Verria they will point out places in the hills called La Ligutshari 
where a struggle between two bands ended in some one being 
killed. A band may consist of any number up to twenty, but 
there are really only seven essential characters, the bride, the 
bridegroom, the old woman who nurses a puppet in her arms 
pretending it is her child, the old man or Arab, the doctor and 
two men dressed in skins to represent bears or sheep or wolves 
or devils. These latter characters always have masks of skin 
and wear on their heads a piece of board in which is inserted a 
kind of plume made of the tail of a fox, wolf or goat. They are 
always heavily loaded with rows and rows of mule and sheep 
bells to make more impression when they dance. The Arab 
too usually wears a similar costume. If more than seven 
people compose a band, the extra persons will duplicate other 
characters such as the bride and bridegroom, of whom there 
can be any number up to six, and the devils or bears, or they 


may introduce fresh characters such as the doctor's wife or a 
priest. The brides are invariably ^^oung men dressed in girls' 
clothes, and no women ever take part in such mumming ; it 
would be improper. The plot of the play which the mummers 
performed was very simple. The Arab or old man would 
annoy the bride with his attentions. The bridegroom would 
naturally intervene and a lively quarrel would ensue, which 
ended eventually in the death of one of them. He was duly 
mourned either by the bride or by the old woman and the 
doctor was called in. Through the doctor's skill the dead was 
restored to life and the play ended with a general dance of all 
the characters and the sending round of the hat. In other days 
the play seems to have included something in the nature of an 
obscene pantomime, of which traces still survive. Nowadays 
the play varies much from place to place, for instance at times 
the Arab will attempt to steal the old woman's puppet baby 
and this provokes the bridegroom's interference. The mum- 
ming used to begin after church on New Year's Day, but now 
in some places it is done only at Epiphany. The Greeks of 
Pelion have transferred the festival to May Day, the Thracian 
mumming among Greeks and Bulgarians alike occurs at the 
beginning of Lent, and within the memory of man the bishop 
of Ghrevena has forbidden the Vlachs of that town to do their 
mumming at the New Year and compelled them to transfer it 
to Carnival. Wherever there are Vlachs the custom is known. 
It still flourishes in the glens of Pindus at Turia and Baieasa 
and at Briaza where they call the mummers Arugutshari. 
They are known by this name at Klisura, at Neveska as 
Ishk'inari and at Krushevo as Arak'i. In the Meglen at 
L'umnitsa and Oshini they appear as Dzhamalari. The 
Samariniats at Verria, Elassona and Vlakhoyianni still observe 
the custom. At Verria where we have seen it on New Year's Day, 
it is much curtailed, for only one character appears, the Arab 
masked and dressed in skins and loaded with bells (Plate I). 
Boys in groups of four or five will don this dress and wander 
about the town from quarter to quarter where the Vlachs 
dwell. They waylay any one they meet and demand money to 
drink his health and wish him good luck for the year. Each 


member of the band carries a large knife of some kind and they 
threaten the victim's Hfe till he pays. At Elassona Vlachs 
and Greeks unite in the mumming (Plate XXI), but the former 
seem to be in the majority, and all the usual characters appear 
though the Arab here is an Albanian armed with a blunderbuss 
to shoot the bridegroom with ashes and the typical two- 
stringed Albanian guitar. Similarly wherever there are Greeks 
in Thrace and Macedonia the custom is still observed. We 
have heard of it at Stenimachos in East Bulgaria and in Adrian- 
ople, at Boghatsko near Kastoria and throughout Thessaly. 
From the obvious similarity between this mumming and some 
of the ancient Dionysiac rites some would hail this as a Hel- 
lenic custom come down from remote antiquity. However 
since in Greece itself it is not known anywhere south of 
Thessaly, but only in regions where Greeks live side by side 
with other races, the Hellenic origin does not seem proved. 
All that we can say is that it seems common to all the races in 
the centre of the Balkan peninsula for the Bulgars and Al- 
banians too know it, but we cannot on the present evidence 
decide which race had the honour of inventing it., It is re- 
markable that belief in the Kallikandzari is universal in Greece, 
but the mumming in their honour is not. As for its supposed 
Dionysiac connection that still remains to be proved, and after 
all even Dionysus himself was not in origin a Hellene, but a 
stranger from the north. The mumming apparently reached 
its height on the eve of Epiphany when the bands would visit 
the houses after dark and levy contributions on the occupier 
willy-nilly. On such occasions they seem to have had full 
licence to steal chickens and any similar trifles they could 
lay their hands on. Then on the day of Epiphany after the 
usual Orthodox service of blessing the waters the bands re- 
appeared to take toll from all who had eluded them before. 
Sometimes the bands collect money for the church of their 
parish, but as a rule the contributions they levy are spent for 
their own pleasure. The last possible day for them to linger 
is the feast of St John the Baptist which immediately follows 
Epiphany, but by then their services are no longer required, 
for KarkandzaVi flee as soon as the waters are blessed. To 



prevent any chance of harm from any Karkandza who may 
have remained the wise Samariniat housewife will take the 
ashes that she has been collecting on her hearth ever since 
Christmas and sprinkle them all round her house outside, 
which will effectively drive away KarkandzaVi who are left. 
After Epiphany there are no great festivals till Easter, or 
at least such festivals as occur are not particularly Vlach. 
Pious craftsmen for the sake of a holiday will in January duly 
keep the days of St Antony and St Athanasius. The latter 
day is for some Vlachs an important festival as marking the 
middle of winter. In some of the Meglen villages one or two 
oxen are killed at the church and the meat boiled. Each 
house sends a boy for a dish of the meat, paying money for it 
which goes to the church. All Vlachs who are Greeks in 
politics will duly observe Lady Day because that is now the 
national festival of Greece. Lent and Easter they keep as all 
orthodox christians, and their observances do not differ from 
those of the Greeks. But Easter since it is a moveable feast 
cannot be depended on by the nomad Vlachs, for they may 
have to spend it on the road. No true Vlach would put off 
attending the fair of Ghrevena merely because he wanted to 
spend Easter in his winter quarters in some town, and they say 
that Easter was spent on the road in 1854 when the Samarina 
families were attacked by Turkish troops while in camp. Only 
for the day of Lazarus, the Saturday before Palm Sunday, have 
the Vlachs any peculiar observances. On this day the young 
girls collect in groups of five or more (they call themselves 
Lazarine), and make a doll representing a boy. One of them 
is chosen as leader to carry the doll, and then decorated with 
flowers they wander from house to house singing songs either 
in Vlach or Greek. tv/o of them, either girls or 
boys, unite to carry the doll, and this seems to be done to 
avoid the possibility that the people, they visit, should make 
jokes at the expense of the girl carrying the boy doll. On the 
last day of February the boys run about the streets with bells 
in their hands and cry, " Away mice, away snakes ! " This 
custom however is observed amongst many peoples at this 
time of the year. 


After Easter come the feast of St George, which is a great 
day for the Vlachs, for then the shepherds break up their 
winter camps and move off to their native hills, Ascension Day 
and the feast of the Trinity which are kept as feasts of the 
church. At Whitsuntide they keep the feast of the dead which 
they call Rusal'e. On these days they decorate the graves 
with flowers and take to the churchyard dishes of collyva and 
other food which are blessed by the priest after which they are 
distributed amongst those present. This is done, as the old 
women say, that the dead may eat and also for the repose of 
their souls. The custom is known in Greece and elsewhere, 
and it is interesting that the Greeks too keep the Rusalia, 
which like the Vlach is derived from the Latin rosalia. 

The Vlachs are faithful sons of the Orthodox Church and 
very religious, if to be religious is to observe the superstitions 
which the church encourages. We have seen the famous 
miracle working ikon of the monastery of Zaburdo brought up 
to Samarina by pious muleteers to cure a dangerous infectious 
disease, which was attacking the mules of the village. At 
Elassona in the middle of January the famous ikon of the 
Virgin is brought down in solemn procession from its mon- 
astery on the hill above (Plate XX 2) to the church in the 
centre of the Vlach quarter mainly inhabited by Samariniats. 
After the service a spirited auction is conducted in the church 
for the honour of keeping the ikon for a night in one's house. 
The bids are made in oil to be given to the monastery. The 
first bid is made by the priest who as he comes down the 
steps from the altar at the close of the service shouts out 
" Thirty okes of oil for the ikon ! " which indicates the reserve 
price. On the occasion when we saw the auction the ikon 
was secured by a syndicate of Samarina muleteers, who com- 
bined to bid a hundred and twenty okes of oil, and carried off 
the ikon in triumph. Naturally the entertainment of this 
miraculous ikon attributed to St Luke brings the best possible 
luck for the successful bidders. 

Other examples of superstitions common among the 
Vlachs and known at Samarina are the belief that every deep 
glen or ravine is the home of demons or devils who delight to 


leap about the rocks, and the idea that springs are the homes 
of beings called Alhile shi Mushatile, the Fair and Beautiful 
Maidens. These mysterious maidens live in small springs 
especially those closely surrounded by bushes or overgrown 
with ivy. As they are naturally jealous of any pretty girl 
it is wise to leave by the springs where they live a piece of 
money or a rag torn off a garment and tied on to one of the 
bushes. If any girl or boy is ill, it is due to the jealousy of 
these beings. Then the relations with white aprons and 
white kerchiefs on their heads on which they carry loaves of 
bread and with a sprig of basil in their hands will go early in 
the morning to the nearest spring where Alhile shi Mushatile 
dwell. The springs are usually a little way outside the village. 
They cut the bread and sing a song like the following : — 

Fair and Beautiful Maidens have pity on us. What you have 
given us, do not take from us. \\Tiat you have taken from us, give 
us back. 

On one occasion an old woman of Samarina hearing 
that we were in search of antiquities said, " I suppose they 
must have candles of human fat." Her belief was, that, if 
one had such a candle and lighted it, either the light would 
guide us straight to what we were seeking, or else the an- 
tiquities would spring up from the ground automatically. 
Another time during a thunderstorm on the mountains we 
were directed to sit under a special kind of pine where we 
should be sheltered from the rain and safe from the lightning. 
Pines of this kind have a small cruciform branch on their tops 
and so no lightning will ever strike them. The pine on the 
roof of Great St Mary's was once cut down by an impious 
priest ; but the next morning the priest was found dead in 
his bed and the tree was back in its old position where it 
flourishes to this day. 

The Vlach folk-beliefs are endless and as will be seen from 
the examples that have come under our notice are of mixed 
origin and it is impossible to say how many are genuinely 


Shi eara tsi nu shi eara. 

And there was what was not. 

Preface to Vlach Folktale 

SAMARINA from its position in Pindus on the borders 
of Upper Macedonia and Southeastern Albania is 
Uttle hkely to be visited by European travellers 
unless they go there with some set purpose. Further the 
fact that it lies just off the main road from Ghrevena to 
Konitsa helps to keep it in obscurity, and even this road is 
not often used by European travellers who usually cross the 
chain of Pindus by Metsovo or by Kortsha (in Greek Koritsa, 
in Vlach Kortsheaua). Leake and Pouqueville, our earliest 
authorities, mention the village, but never visited it. Since 
their time the only European who has been there and given 
any account of it is Weigand. The Italian botanist Baldacci 
was in the district in 1896, but not in Samarina itself. Apart 
from these the only European who has been there recently 
according to the accounts given us in Samarina was a German, 
who stayed one night when travelling through from Albania 
back to Salonica. The villagers are never tired of telling 
how geologists have been there to look at the mines reported 
to exist on Zmolku, but do not know their names. The mere 
fact that none of the earlier European travellers ever passed 
anywhere near the village means that for its history before 
the time of Leake we are entirely dependent on local tradition. 
Even for the various events connected with Samarina in the 
nineteenth century the main source of information is oral 
tradition again. There are however a few scattered refer- 
ences to Samarina in some modern Greek books. From the 


statements of the travellers and the modern Greek references 
we have been able to obtain a few points the dates of which 
can be fixed approximately. On to this skeleton we have 
attempted in the following history of the village to fit what 
we have learnt from various natives of Samarina. The 
result can make no claim to be accurate, for the local tradi- 
tions are often very inconsistent. Perhaps the history of 
Samarina makes up for its lack of accuracy by picturesqueness 
and the fact that it is probably typical of what the Vlach 
villages went through in Turkish times. 

All the local traditions agree in saying that the village was 
not always where it is now. Formerly there were three or 
four little hamlets which in the course of time coalesced 
into Samarina. But exactly where these hamlets were no 
one quite knows, but all are quite sure that one was at the 
monastery of Samarina. This was not a healthy site and 
the inhabitants had to migrate elsewhere, because the place 
was full of snakes which bit the children. Another settlement 
is said to have been at a place called La Palita about ten 
minutes to the south of Samarina on the road to the monastery. 
Here the slope of the hill is gentler than elsewhere and covered 
with grass and dotted with pear trees, so that it seems quite 
possible that it was once inhabited. Another hamlet is said 
to have been on the ridge opposite Samarina, but opinions 
differ as to where it was. One would place it at the Tshuka a 
rocky bluff below the Ghrevena road and near the K'atraN'agra ; 
another would put it by a spring called the Fandana al Ahuri 
(the spring of Ahuri) higher up on the same ridge above the 
Ghrevena road ; and yet a third would place it at the Shoput 
al Kodru further along the ridge on the road to TshotiH. The 
tale is that Ahuri was a shepherd and wished to build the 
village by his spring. A hot dispute took place between him 
and other shepherds who wanted to build the village by the 
willows in what is now the misohori and a fight ended in his 
being killed there by his spring. The most likely of these 
three sites is the Tshuka where there are disused threshing floors 
and other signs of cultivation to say nothing of a large number 
of pear trees. Another hamlet stood somewhere on the 


present site of the village, probably near the site of Great 
St Mary's Church. To these settlements others will add one 
supposed to have existed on the slopes of GurguFu above 
the woods of K'urista at a spot called La Koasta. This hardly 
seems likely in view of the roughness of the ground and the 
height of the mountain. No permanent settlement can have 
existed here, though it is quite likely that shepherds camped 
here for the summer. Probably the tradition that one of 
the original hamlets stood on Gurgul'u is due to a confusion 
with the tale that the ridge of GurguFu was used as a refuge 
by the people of Samarina during Albanian raids. At all 
events it does not much matter where these isolated hamlets 
were, it is enough that there is a consensus of local tradition 
that Samarina first came into being through their union. 

Four f amihes are said to have taken the initiative as regards 
the foundation of the village. These were the families, Honia, 
Dadal'ari, Nikuta and Barbaramu. Of these the Dadal'ari 
family is still well known in the village, but for a widely different 
reason. Once upon a time this clan was rich and powerful, 
but latterly through the decline of the sheep-rearing industry 
has fallen on evil days. It is now a bye-word for pride and 
poverty. As a rule every bachelor from elsewhere, who visits 
Samarina, is advised to take a wife from the village, and he, if 
he be well posted in the local traditions, will admit that he is 
willing, but that he would prefer as his bride one of the daughters 
of Dadal'ari. Any stranger who makes such a remark will 
at once achieve a great reputation as a wit, in Samarina at 
least. The heads of these families are said to have been 
tshelnikadzi, head shepherds, and it is highly probable that 
the scattered settlements, which were united to found the 
village, were not permanent hamlets, but merely the hut 
encampments of large groups of shepherds, who return year 
after year to encamp in the same spot for the summer among 
their native hills. Nowadays such camps are small, but in 
earlier times they were of a patriarchal character. In addition 
to his own family the Tshelniku had under his control many 
shepherds who watched his flocks and their families as well. 
Thus in the flourishing days of the Vlach pastoral life as many 


as fifty families might be united under the leadership of one 
Tshelniku. Some local authorities assert that the founding 
of Samarina took place in the fifteenth century, others more 
wisely profess complete ignorance on this point. Although 
it is probably true that Vlach shepherds were camping for 
the summer round about the present site of Samarina in the 
fifteenth century and for many a long year before then, yet it 
seems to us that in placing the foundation of the village in 
the fifteenth century, tradition is giving a date at least a 
century too early. After the first permanent settlement other 
families came from time to time and so increased the size 
of the village. In the sixteenth century the families Hutsha, 
Tsan'ara, and Hoti or Karadashu settled in Samarina and in 
the seventeenth century they were followed by the family of 
Hadzhimati. These are the facts that local tradition loves 
to retail, and it is impossible to check them. To follow back 
for any period of years the history of any one of the families 
of Samarina with their ever-changing surnames and continual 
inconsistencies is beyond the patience of any ordinary mortal. 
From the time of its foundation till the end of the eighteenth 
century when we have the first written records of the village 
and its inhabitants, Samarina was increasing in size and pro- 
sperity. The accounts given by Leake and Pouqueville indi- 
cate that it was then in a flourishing condition, and we know 
from the inscriptions given above that about this time the 
churches were built. 

Probably the wealth and prosperity of the village attracted 
the attention of the Albanians. As noted by Leake in South- 
eastern Albania the Albanians have for a long time past been 
encroaching on the neighbouring peoples, whether Greek, 
Vlach or Bulgarian. At the same time they were continually 
raiding beyond the limits of the lands in which they were 
settling. For instance the Greek districts of Poghoni and 
the Zaghori suffered severely. Prominent amongst these 
raiders were the people of Tepeleni, the home of Ali Pasha, 
and Kolonia the wild hill country lying between Konitsa and 
Kortsha. It is said that during the eighteenth and early 
nineteenth century Albanians from the districts mentioned 


were continually attempting to plunder Samarina. How- 
ever the boast of Samarina is that it has never been robbed 
by Albanians, although they admit that on one occasion the 
whole population went up and camped on Gurguru. There 
the women and children were placed in safety on the peak 
and the men lying behind hastily constructed breastworks of 
stones successfully defended the honour of Samarina. Local 
pride apparently overlooks the fact that if the whole popula- 
tion were on the heights of Gurgul'u the village must have 
been at the mercy of the Albanians who could have plundered 
it unhindered. It is in connection with these raids that we 
hear of the first hero of Samarina. The great defender and 
leader of the village against the Albanians was one Yanni al 
Preftu. In 1743 he is believed to have chased home to Tepeleni 
from Samarina and Kerasova Veli Pasha the father of All 
Pasha, the Lion of Yannina. So great was the terror which 
he caused among the Albanians that even to-day, so Samarina 
boasts, Albanian mothers quiet their naughty children by 
saying that Yanni Prift is coming. In this respect Yanni 
al Preftu can be ranked with heroes like Hannibal, Richard 
Coeur de Lion, and Napoleon whose names are used to stop 
babies crying. On one occasion he led out the men of 
Samarina, and met and defeated Arslan Bey of Kolonia who 
was coming with innumerable Albanians to set his foot on the 
village, as the local phrase goes. Aravandinos says that 
he attacked a band of Albanians returning from the south 
with the plunder of Thessaly, and robbed them of most of 
their booty. Possibly, like Totskas, he harried Albanians on 
their way home after subduing the Peloponnesian revolt of 
1770, Yanni al Preftu, who is said to have belonged to the 
great house of Dadal'ari, fell fighting as befitted so valiant a 
man. The accounts of his death vary. Some believe that 
he was basely deserted and left alone to fight against hopeless 
odds by three men of Samarina who were jealous of his renown. 
The three traitors are said to have been Nak'i al Kosa, 
Dzima al Nikuta and Dzima al Kututringa. Others 
say that the Albanians treacherously attacked and killed 
him and this is the account that is celebrated in the local 


ballad. The version of this which we were told in the village 
runs thus : — ■ 

" \\1iat are these banners that come from the ridge of Grekhi ? " 
And Yiannis smiled, he tosses his head, " My girdle holds my sword, 
it holds my musket too." And he mounts the slope like a splendid 
pigeon, and his mother near at hand shouts to him and wails, "Where 
are you going Yianni all alone, with no one at your side ? " " WTiy 
do I want many men, I go alone." He begins to cry aloud like a 
stallion. " Where are you going Albanian dogs ; and you, men of 
Kolonia ? I am Yiannis the priest's son, Yiannis the son of priest 
Nikolas. This is not Ghrevena, this is not the Zaghori, this is not 
Laista and all the Vlach villages. Here are mountain heights, the 
heights of Samarina, where boys and women and girls know how to fight." 

The published versions which differ slightly in that 
they specify the place of his death, Hassan Kopatsi a spring 
on the road from the top of the Greklu ridge to Kerasova, 
add three lines at the end emphasising the fact that he fell 
by treachery : — 

He did not finish his speech, and he groans hea\aly. The fatal lead 
comes through his shoulder. They slew the Captain Yiannakis by 

About this same time, 1775, an Albanian called Ismail 
Dhamsis is said to have been warden of the roads of Furka 
and Samarina. He seems to have been very energetic, 
and was in consequence waylaid and murdered by brigands 
at a place called Skurdzha in Samarina territory on the top 
of the ridge to the east of H'ilimodhi. This place is not far 
from the pass known as La Lupii Spindzuratii (the Hanged 
Wolf) on the road from Dusko to Furka. His death is cele- 
brated in the following song : — 

Were you not content, Ismail Agha, with Furka and with Sama- 
rina ? Yet you were anxious to have Dusko as armatolik as well, 
and evil induced them to lay an ambush for you. " Ismail, throw down 
your arms, Ismail surrender ! " " Am I to throw down my arms, am 
I to submit ? I am Ismail Agha, the whole world fears me." They 
fire one volley and he remained on the ground. Albania wept for 
him, wept for Dhamsis. 

At this time too according to the tradition there were 
coiners at Samarina who practised their trade at a place called 


La Kazani (the Cauldrons) on Zmolku above the Vale Kama. 
The spot is well known and it is said that the ruins of the 
factory can still be seen and that false money is often found 
about there. One of the coiners was the father of Adham 
Tshutra, the tshelniku who was the principal subscriber 
towards the cost of the wall paintings in Great St Mary's. 
When he was denounced to the authorities and the Turks 
came to arrest him, he hid under a large pile of unworked 
wool lying in his house and so escaped. One of the klephtic 
ballads relates to Miha of Samarina who is said to have been 
a companion in arms of Yanni al Preftii. Miha denounced 
to the authorities as a coiner one Itrizis who is said to have 
been a native of Samarina. Itrizis was sent to Constantinople 
and remained a long time there in prison. On his release he 
avenged himself as told in the song and then went into Thessaly 
and joined Vlakhavas. The date according to Aravandinos 
is 1785. It hardly seems probable that a native of Samarina 
should have been called Itrizis, which seems far more likely 
to have been an Albanian name. The ballad tells the story 
thus : — 

Mikhos was going down from Samarina with his musket at his 
side, with his sword in his girdle, to go to his winter quarters, to Sikia 
and to Pertori. A bird went and sat on his right shoulder, and it did 
not speak like a bird nor like a swallow, but it spoke and talked the 
speech of man. " Mikho, tread that path, pass along it, and another 
time you will not tread it nor will you pass along it." He lowered his 
eyes and tears came into them. " My little bird, whore did you 
learn this, where did you hear this, my bird ? " " Yesterday I was in 
heaven with the angels and I heard them number you with the dead." 
He did not finish his speech, his speech was not complete, a volley was 
heard in the midst of the ravine. Itrizis was lying in ambush for him 
high up in the pass ; Mikhos of Samarina fell down dead on the earth, 
he who was armatole at Furka and klepht at Samarina. 

There are frequent references to Samarina and its in- 
habitants during the rule of Ali Pasha in Yannina from 1788 
to 1822. He was supreme in Epirus, Southern Albania, 
Thessaly, and Southwestern Macedonia, and consequently 
the great majority of the Vlachs fell within his sphere. Two 
natives of Samarina are said to have been in his service as 


secretaries — he used Greek as his official language — and their 
names are given as Zhogu al Lala al Hadzhik'iriu and Miha 
al K'irianu. They seem to have made good use of their 
opportunities. They say that a Greek of Vradheto, loannis 
Tsigharas, and his three cousins from Tshepelovo returned to 
their native land from Wallachia with money which they had 
made abroad. They were denounced to Ali Pasha by these 
two men of Samarina who alleged that they had robbed their 
caravan. The four Greeks were thrown into prison and 
condemned to death. They were rescued by a relation of 
theirs, loannis Kapas, but lost all their money, and were 
obliged immediately to go back to Wallachia to make more. 
Another native of Samarina called Adham is said to have served 
as mudir of Dhomeniko under Ali Pasha. He died suddenly 
and it is believed that he was poisoned, of course by the Turks 
to whom the christians attribute all the evil that takes place 
in the Balkans. Ali Pasha is also reported to have attempted 
to abduct a girl from Samarina, but tradition is not sure whether 
he wished her for his own bride or for some one else. The 
name and parentage of the girl also differ. Some will say 
he was enamoured of a girl of the family of Hadzhik'iriu who 
was hurriedly married to Adham Tshutra. Others say that 
he attempted to abduct a girl called Haidha of the great house 
of Dadarari in order to send her to Napoleon for his bride. 
Yanni al Preftii is believed to have rescued the girl from 
having this greatness thrust upon her. In any case Samarina 
and the neighbouring villages of Avdhela and Perivoli boast 
that they always stoutly resisted all attempts of Ali Pasha 
to encroach on their liberties. He was notorious for reducing 
villages of peasant proprietors to the status of chiftliks and so 
obtaining all the produce of the village, the inhabitants of 
which were thus little better than serfs. It was under his rule 
that Samarina obtained possession of the chiftlik of H'ilimodhi, 
which is said to have been a Bulgarian village of peasant 
small-holders. It happened that a man of Samarina was killed 
at H'ilimodhi and his fellow-countrymen applied for redress 
to Ali Pasha, who answered that they could do as they liked. 
Consequently the men of Samarina descended in force upon 


H'ilimodhi, drove out the Bulgarians, and annexed the village 
and its lands to Samarina. Local tradition says that Ali 
Pasha especially favoured Samarina, and many families assert 
that they possessed rescripts issued by him till recently. Most 
of these are said to have perished when Leonidha burnt some 
of the best houses ; at all events we have never been shown any 
such rescript. To-day on a rock in the grove of pines on the 
slope of the bluff, where stands the church of St Elijah, the 
following inscription is to be read : — 


What this means it is hard to say. Barth found in the 
Elassona district the words " Ali Pasha 1823 " in Greek on 
a small fort at Selos, which although a chiftlik did not belong 
to him. Heuzey however says that he built a small fort at 
Selos to guard the pass through Olympus to Katerini. Ali 
Pasha was killed in 1822 ; but the inscription may have been 
put up later in order to record that the fort was built by him. 
Thus the inscription at Samarina may refer to the establish- 
ment of an armatolik there by him, or it may have been cut 
at a later date and be of no significance whatsoever. 

Another native of Samarina, a monk called Demetrius, 
fared badly at the hands of Ali Pasha. After the failure of 
the insurrection of the armatoli under Vlakhavas in 1808 
Demetrius went about Thessaly advising the christians to be 
patient and submit. He was denounced as preaching sedition 
and brought before Ali Pasha loaded with chains. Pouque- 
ville, who is our sole authority for the story and at his best 
not a sober historian, says that the following conversation 
took place between the tyrant and the monk : — 

Ali. You have preached the kingdom of Christ and con- 
sequently the fall of our faith and our prince. 

Dem. My God reigns from all eternity and for all eternity, 
and 1 reverence the masters whom He has given us. 

Ali. What is that you carry on your breast ? 

Dem. The precious image of His mother. 


All. I wish to see it. 

Dem. It may not be profaned. Order one of my hands to 
be cut off and I will give it to you. 

Alt. Is it thus that you mislead men's minds : that we 
are profaners ? I recognise in this speech the agent of the 
bishops who call in the Russians to reduce us to slavery. Name 
your accomplices. 

Dem. My accomplices are my conscience, and my duty, 
which oblige me to console the christians and make them 
submissive to your laws. 

AH. Say to your laws, christian dog ! 

Dem. I am proud of that name. 

Alt. You carry an image of the Virgin which they say is 
valuable ? 

Dem. Say rather miraculous. The mother of Our Saviour 
is our advocate with her Immortal Son and with God. Her 
miracles for us occur daily, and every day I invoke them. 

AH. Let us see if she will protect you. Executioners apply 
the torture ! 

Then the executioners threw him down at the feet of 
the Pasha who spat in his face. They thrust thorns under 
the nails of his hands and feet, they pierced his arms, but 
in spite of his pain the only words he uttered were " Lord 
have mercy on thy servant ! Queen of heaven pray for 
us ! " They placed round his head a string of knuckle-bones 
and drew it tight, but it broke without producing a con- 
fession from him. Then the tired executioners asked that the 
torture be postponed till the morrow. Demetrius was removed 
and thrown into a damp cell. The next day they hanged him 
head downwards and lit a fire of resinous wood under his head. 
Fearing that he might die and so escape them, they released 
him and placed him on the ground with planks over him on 
which they danced to break his bones. Finally Demetrius, 
triumphant over all these tortures, was imprisoned in a wall 
only his head being left free. They fed him in order to pro- 
long his agony, and he did not die till the tenth day. So 
great was the admiration of his firmness under torture that a 
Mohammedan of Kastoria even asked to be baptized. For 


this he also afterwards suffered martyrdom. As a matter of 
fact after the death of Demetrius Ah Pasha is said to have 
stopped the persecution of the christians in Thessaly which 
he had begun to revenge himself for the rising of Vlakhavas. 

Though on the whole Samarina fared well under Ali Pasha, 
yet the troubles in Epirus and the destruction of MuskopoFe 
and other flourishing Vlach villages after 1770 had their effect 
on Samarina as well. Its population, which then numbered 
fifteen thousand souls according to local estimates, began to 
scatter and many families wandered forth towards the east to 
find new homes away from the storm centre at Yannina. Many 
settled at Shatishta ; between one hundred and fifty and two 
hundred families are said to have gone to Niausta where their 
descendants are almost entirely hellenized ; others settled 
in the Pierian plain at Katerini, and others joined their cousins 
from Avdhela and Perivoli in the movement to the hills of 
Verria which later received larger contingents from the same 
villages. This cannot be anything like a complete list of 
the places whither families from Samarina wandered, and 
probably few towns in Southeastern Macedonia did not receive 
a detachment of Pindus Vlachs at the beginning of the 
nineteenth century. 

The next historical mention of Samarina is in connection 
with a certain Yeoryios Dhervenas, a native of the village 
of Dherveni near Konitsa, who from 1821 onwards was a 
noted robber in the districts of Ghrevena and Konitsa and the 
Zaghori. In order to check his raids he was made capitan 
of the armatoli of Konitsa and Samarina, but since he still 
continued to devote himself to his favourite profession, he 
was ambushed and killed. His death which is said to have 
occurred in 1826 is celebrated in the following song : — 

Three little birds were sitting high np at Radhotovi : from the 
evening they wail, and at dawn they say, " Yiorghodhervenas has 
gone out on to the mountains of Samarina, he demands taxes, he 
demands payment. He starts to write letters, to send them to Konitsa. 
To you Suleyman Bey and the headmen ! Send me the taxes, send 
me the payment lest I burn the villages and lay them waste." He did 
not finish his letter and he hears a volley, twelve bullets pierce him 
and he utters no word, 


Shortly after this in 1845 we hear that the principal power 
at Samarina was in the hands of one man Yannuli al Miha 
al Hadzhi, who was apparently recognised by the government 
as the headman of the village. He was an active and in- 
telligent man, a good speaker and possessed of considerable 
wealth and influence. His great faults are said to have been 
his love of power and money and his objection to any form of 
opposition. He had such authority that his seal or signature 
was necessary to legalise documents and deeds relating to the 
sale of houses and land. He is said to have used the following 
phrase : — 'O r^g ^ayuccpivT^g Yl^ozarug Tioc'/vovX'/ig M/y^ov ^2(iaia} 
htd rrjv xoii^orriroc . . . The immediate cause of his fall 
was that he attempted to induce the people of Samarina 
to raise the standard of revolt, probably about the time of the 
Crimean war. He was resisted by Dzhoga al Hadhzik'iria 
and Dzhima al Papayeoryi of the house of Tshutra, who taunted 
him publicly that he treated Samarina as though it was his 
chiftlik. The proposed revolt fell through, and shortly after 
Yannuli al Miha was denounced to the Turkish authorities at 
Yannina by his enemies who alleged that he had embezzled 
money which he had collected on behalf of the state. The 
intervention of the Turks secured his complete fall from power 
and he died not long afterwards. Then the chief of the op- 
position Dzhoga al Hadzhik^iria became the principal man in 
Samarina with the assistance of Dzhima al Papayeoryi. 

In 1854 the Crimean war broke out and this event naturally 
affected Samarina. The Greeks taking advantage of the em- 
barrassments of the Ottoman Empire brought about a rising 
in Thessaly, Epirus and Southern Macedonia. Few natives 
of these regions actually joined the insurgents except brigands, 
and the revolutionary bands were mainly composed of volun- 
teers from Greece including men who deserted from the army 
for the purpose and gaolbirds liberated especially with this 
object. Many of the volunteers were true patriots, natives 
of the country who were living in Greece, and other Greeks 
from all Greek-speaking lands. But on the whole the conduct 
of the insurgents towards the christian population of the 
country they wished to free was disgraceful and they plundered 


right and left. Large numbers of cattle and sheep were seized 
and driven down into Greece where meat was cheaper than it 
had ever been before as Finlay bears witness. The Moham- 
medans were robbed as well, but since the christians far and 
away outnumber the Turks in the region concerned they 
naturally suffered most loss, especially since one way to hurt 
a rich bey was to plunder his chiftliks which would be 
inhabited by christians alone. Amongst those who lost 
heavily were the shepherds of Samarina, and this was one 
circumstance which gave the prosperity of the village a severe 
check. Further in the spring or early summer — May 20th 1854 
is said to have been the day — when the families were on their 
way up to Samarina going by the usual route through Dhiskata 
they were attacked in camp by Turkish troops and suffered 
severely. Exactly how this came about is not clear, but as 
far as we can gather from some of those present it occurred 
in the following manner. The insurgent movement was in 
progress and a large band under the leadership of Zhakas was 
in the neighbourhood of Ghrevena. He had told the families 
not to move till he could come and protect them on their way 
up to the hills. They however had gone on by themselves and 
were in camp one evening not very far from Dhiminitsa when 
Mehmed Agha of Ghrevena appeared with an escort of Kurdish 
cavalry and demanded the dues payable on the sheep, four 
piastres a head. The men of Samarina protested that they 
had no money to pay with then because it was the beginning of 
the season, but they would pay in the autumn. One old man, 
Hadzhiziku by name, encouraged them to resist Mehmed 
Agha's demands by force if necessary, and he suspecting that 
they were taking up the attitude of insurgents, which was 
partly true, ordered his troops to charge. The Kurds accord- 
ingly rushed the encampment killing and plundering, and the 
Samarina people fled in terror to the shelter of the trees where 
they were comparatively safe from the cavalry. They also 
resisted, as they could, for some of them had arms, and one 
Yanni al Taha is said to have killed the leader of the troops 
and so checked their attack. About eighty people are said 
to have been killed and among them Hadzhiziku himself. 


The rest of the folk were saved by the trees and nightfall. 
The next day Zhakas came up with his band about three 
hundred strong and a slight engagement took place between 
him and the Turks in which he lost a few men. On this occasion 
the women of Samarina put white kerchiefs on their heads and 
shouldered poles, so that the Turks at a distance might take 
them for armed men and not attack. Mehmed Agha retired 
to Ghrevena and the families under the escort of Zhakas 
reached their villages without any further adventures. After 
this Zhakas was pursued by Turkish troops and besieged by 
them in the monastery at Spileo where the caves in the cliffs 
have always been the traditional refuge for outlaws. He 
succeeded in breaking out of Spileo and made his way to 
Kalabaka where he united with Ghrivas who had been driven 
from Metsovo. They and other insurgent bands were finally 
routed by the Turks on June 17th 1854 ^-t Kalabaka. In 
subduing the insurrection the Ottoman government employed 
as usual Albanian irregulars who were attracted by the prospects 
of plunder. On their way home some of these irregulars 
under the command of Mudum Bey of Trikkala wished to pass 
through Samarina territory and camp for one night in the 
village. Yanni al Taha at the head of the men of Samarina 
met them at the Doaua K'etri and offered them meat and bread, 
but refused to allow them to pass through the village. Accord- 
ing to another account the people of Samarina waylaid some 
Albanians at the Lupii Spindzuratu and robbed them of most 
of their booty, but this seems to us an imaginative version 
inspired by the memories of past history. To this period 
the follo^ving song probably refers. The man who told us 
the song said it was an old song, but he did not know its date ; 
others said that its hero flourished under Ali Pasha ; and 
others again that the events related took place in 1854. 

What is the evil that takes place this week ? My blood brothers, 
the dogs, have deceived me, have betrayed me, and they said to me, 
" Come, Dhuka, come up to Samarina, that we may become blood 
brothers on the twelve gospels." He was holding the cross in his 
hands, he was kissing the gospels, and patrols entrapped them round 
about the monastery. Listen, they summon Dhukas ! Listen, they 
call to Dhukas ! " Come out, come out, Dhuka, come out and submit ! " 


" I am not a bride to submit, and to kiss hands. I am the famous 
Dhukas, famous throughout the world : the Sultan knows me and the 
Grand Vizier knows me too." 

Dhukas was a well-known brigand, and this song refers to his 
betrayal and death. Some of his friends invited him to come 
to the monastery of Samarina that they might there go through 
the ceremony of blood brotherhood. He came, but they had 
given information to the Turkish troops who came and sur- 
rounded it while Dhukas and his friends were swearing brother- 
hood. When summoned to surrender Dhukas refused and 
escaped from the monastery, probably by the cellar-like room 
under the exo-narthex of its church. He ran down to the 
river, crossed it and was making his way up the slope of 
Ghumara opposite. The troops pursued and shot him on the 
top of the ridge opposite to the monastery, which in conse- 
quence is still known as La Dhuka. 

In 1856 when peace reigned again party strife broke out 
once more at Samarina. Dzhoga al Hadzhik'iria who as leader 
of the opposition had succeeded to the power and place of 
Yannuli al Miha began in the course of time to abuse his 
authority very much as his predecessor had done, and to act in 
the same high-handed manner. He quarrelled with Dzhima al 
Papayeoryi by sending the mukhtars and a gendarme to the 
house of Miha Dzhima's brother, then a newly married young 
man, to arrest him for failing to pay a debt which he was 
alleged to have owed to the state. The Turkish authorities 
at Yannina were appealed to by both sides, for the opposition 
now asserted that Dzhoga al Hadzhik'iria had embezzled the 
proceeds of some taxes he should have collected for the govern- 
ment. Miha al Papayeoryi was imprisoned at Ghrevena for 
some time, but was liberated by bribery. Then the Vali of 
Yannina sent up an officer to Samarina to see which was the 
stronger party in the village. All the inhabitants were 
summoned by the ringing of the bells to the pade of Great 
St Mary's, and the officer put forward Miha to make his 
defence to the people. Then he ordered Dzhoga to stand on 
one side and Miha on the other and the inhabitants to shew their 
preference for one or the other by dividing there and then. 


The division shewed that the party of Miha was much the 
stronger, and he became in his turn the principal man in the 
village, but he never seems to have enjoyed as much power 
as had been held by his predecessors. Another version of 
these party quarrels says that they were not so much personal 
affairs between the leaders, but that a great question of policy 
underlay the quarrel. One party, presumably that of Dzhoga, 
wished the inhabitants to sell Samarina and its territory 
wholesale as a chiftlik and that the folk should then go 
and settle elsewhere. This proposal was strenuously resisted 
and finally utterly defeated. The beaten party were so un- 
popular that they were obliged to withdraw from the village 
and seek new homes elsewhere. Consequently they went and 
joined those of their fellow-countrymen who had some time 
previously begun to make their homes on the hills of Verria, 
and others went to Katerini. About a hundred families in all 
settled round Verria and about the same number at Katerini. 
These are still referred to at Samarina as the beaten party 
(bdtutsl). These events took place between 1854 ^^^ i860 
according to tradition, which is notoriously uncertain about 

In the years of peace that followed the stirring events of 
1854 Samarina seems to have gradually increased in prosperity. 
In 1877 the village is said to have numbered twelve hundred 
houses and each year many more were being built. The part 
of the parish of St Elij ah which is beyond the deep ravine was 
then full of houses, and there were many on the slope below 
Great St Mary's. On the other side houses stretched along 
the road from the village to the bridge on the Ghrevena road 
over the stream coming down from the Greklu. They even, 
so it is said, talked of building beyond this bridge. Then too 
the shepherds were very prosperous, for Samarina possessed 
81,000 head of sheep. But the outbreak of the Russo-Turkish 
war seriously injured the village, and the political changes that 
ensued have had a permanent evil effect on it. As in 1854, 
so in 1878, the Greeks stirred up an insurrection in Thessaly, 
Epirus and Southern Macedonia, and as before volunteers 
from Greece and deserters from the Greek army composed the 


bulk of the insurgent forces. But in Thessaly, especially on 
Pelion, a large number of natives took up arms and local 
brigands joined them in the hope of plunder. The rising, 
which except on Pelion and Olympus had little local support, 
was soon stamped out by the Turks and the Albanian irregulars 
they called in to assist them. In April 1878 the insurrec- 
tion, which had begun in January, was brought to an end 
mainly through British intervention. Following the established 
precedent the insurgents plundered christians and Moham- 
medans impartially, and the Samarina shepherds suffered 
severe losses. A native of Burbusko has told us that during 
the rising he and his companions in arms drove down into 
Greece many head of sheep and cattle from the Hashia district 
and the country round Elassona and Larissa, which is the very 
region where many Vlach shepherds winter. Then after the 
rising was over the Albanian irregulars robbed and plundered 
with fire and sword in Thessaly and the Elassona district. So 
great was the terror caused by these licensed marauders that 
ninety-four families wintered in Samarina, preferring to risk 
the cold and lack of food in the mountains rather than face the 
dangers of the plains. 

On the failure of the insurrection the brigands who had 
joined it returned to their former occupation and the years that 
followed up to 1881 were full of danger for Samarina. Amongst 
the brigands who had taken part with the insurgents was a 
native of Samarina, Leonidha al Hadzhibira, a member of a 
well-known and wealthy family. He had been a brigand since 
1875 at first as the lieutenant of Zhurkas and later as an 
independent leader. He had gladly taken part in the insurrec- 
tion as a means of legalising his own robberies, and because he 
was apparently really eager to free the christians of his native 
land from the Turkish domination. His compatriots like to 
believe that for his services to the Greek cause he was decorated 
with the order of the Redeemer. But for many years he was 
the terror of the country and his native village suffered heavily 
from him, for he invaded it many times and burnt many 
houses including some of the best and richest. To this day 
the Vlach villages of the Zaghori say that Leonidha and Davelis 


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were the causes of their ruin. The following song refers to one 
of his exploits in that region : — 

When he was at Baieasa, Ho, Captain Leonidha ! he did a deed of 
daring with eleven men. Leonidha in the village, the Turk outside. 
He seizes a musket, Ho, Captain Leonidha ! he seizes a musket. O, 
for three long hours all the old men shout : " Ho Captain Leonidha, see 
that the Turkish braves do not burn our village ! " " Come my lads, 
let us depart, let us attack the Turk, let us take him alive, and let us 
attack him." 

We have heard many accounts of his daring from his 
brothers and nephews and from an ex-brigand who served 
under him. In the continual skirmishes which he had with 
the pursuing detachments of Turkish troops he is said to have 
had a charmed life. Some attribute this to the fact that he 
carried upon him a piece of the True Cross. He never took 
cover, but walked proudly up and down the line of his men, 
and encouraged first one and then another, displaying his 
person to the Turks just as the Scots displayed theirs to 
King Edward i at Berwick. He even did not hesitate to raid 
towns where troops were stationed, as is evidenced by his 
attack on Hrupishta. His career closed in 1880 in the following 
manner. The Turks had arrested his mother and sister and 
taken them to Ghrevena where they held them as hostages 
hoping that Leonidha would submit. In the meantime the 
pursuit of his band continued and at last he was engaged in 
a life-and-death struggle on the hills between Blatsa and 
Shatishta. In the engagement Leonidha was mortally wounded 
and hidden by his men who could not take him with them. 
On their retreat he was found by the Turks and after a desperate 
resistance in which he cut down several of the enemy, he took 
his own life. His head was cut off, taken to Ghrevena and 
exposed in the market-place, and then his mother was brought 
to identify it. She to the general surprise denied that it was 
her son's head in order to hide her grief, but when she returned 
to her home she gave way to uncontrollable weeping. Accord- 
ing to custom the Turkish authorities sent Leonidha's head 
to the Bishop of Ghrevena asking him to bury it. He however 
refused on the ground that he could not give christian burial 


to a suicide. His death is celebrated by the following 

song : — 

I need no mourning mother, I need no dirges. The mountains 
mourn for me ; the Vlach villages mourn for me ; night and dawn 
mourn for me, the stars and the moon ; the brides of the Hadzhi, 
the brides of Hadzhibira mourn for me. They were sitting at the 
window and were gently singing. They were asking all the travellers 
that passed by, " Perhaps you have seen our gallant son, Leonidhas 
himself ? " " Yesterday evening we saw him in the haunts of the 
klephts. They had lambs roasted, rams on the spit. They have 
slain Leonidhas, the first of the captains, who was the standard of the 
mountains and the banner of the klephts." 

The Turkish version of the death of Leonidha has been 
preserved by Sir Valentine Chirol. After six days' ceaseless 
tracking a strong detachment of gendarmerie surrounded him 
and his band in their lair and killed them to a man. 

In almost every village throughout the country, which they 
made their playground, the brigands had some friend or 
relation who acted as their guide, philosopher and friend 
and supplied them with food and information. This man 
who is known as a kulauz (the Turkish qilaghuz guide) would 
act as negotiator between the brigands and the authorities 
if they wished to submit and obtain a free pardon. On the 
other hand, if the authorities were determined to extirpate 
the brigands, they would first attempt to arrest every such 
kulauz, so that the brigands should have no means of obtaining 
food and shelter. The following song relates to the death of 
one Dhimitraki al Pazaiiti who acted as kulauz for Leonidha 
near Dhiminitsa : — 

Have you heard what happens this week ? This week they slew 
Dhimitrakis. The poor fellow had gone to the village, high up to 
Dhiminitsa to fetch the musicians to go to Leonidhas. On the road 
where he was going, on the road where he goes he met three Turks 
at the church behind the trees. They give him three shots with their 
Martinis, the three in order. One grazes his skin, and tlic second hits 
him in the foot, and the third the fatal one takes him in the heart. 

Leonidha was not of course the only brigand who infested 
Southwestern Macedonia in those times. In October 1880 
when some families from Samarina were going down to their 


winter quarters near Elassona a dramatic incident took place, 
which is recorded in the following song : — 

Birds of Ghrevena and nightingales of Komati when you go down 
to the Aghrapha and down into Greece, give the news to the klephts 
and to all the captains ; they have slain Karadzhas at desert Komati. 
He came out in front of the families to lay a tax upon them. He 
demanded a heavy tax, a dollar a mule. At first they speak him 
fair, so that he may let them go. " Sit down quietly Yiorghaki, sit 
down. The wine is drunk. Yesterday that dog Zhurkas stripped us, 
he took a hundred pounds and seventy capes." " Well did he treat 
you, and how shall I treat you ? " He demanded a heavy tax, a 
dollar a mule. When Dili Zisis heard this, he was very angry, and 
he seizes an axe, and buries it in his skull. Like a tree he splits, and 
like a cypress he falls : black birds wept for him, and white birds 
surrounded him. 

The incidents to which this song refers are briefly as follows. 
One night when in camp on the road between Ghrevena and 
Dhiskata the families had been held up by a brigand called 
Zhurkas who was the leader of a large band. As the Samarina 
families were then on their way to their winter quarters at 
the end of the summer season after the fair at Konitsa they 
were well off for ready money. Zhurkas took all he could 
extract from them and seventy goat's-hair capes as well for 
his men. The next morning the families broke camp early as 
they were anxious to get through a difficult pass called Skara 
(the ladder) leading to Dhiskata, before any other brigands 
heard of their whereabouts. They had not gone far when 
they were again held up by Yeorghakis Karadzhas, a well-known 
and desperate brigand. He had only two men with him. He 
and one other came out into the narrow road and held up the 
long procession of mules, while the third stopped on the ridge 
above as though ready to signal to a large body in hiding. 
Karadzhas demanded that they should pay a dollar (accord- 
ing to another account five piastres) for each mule. In vain 
they entreated him to let them go in peace for Zhurkas 
had robbed them only the night before. Then a nmleteer 
Zisi al Tshopa who had lost heavily the night before was 
seized with ungovernable rage, snatched up an axe and rushed 
against Karadzhas who was sitting with his rifle on his knees 


watching that none should pass without paying. With one 
blow he laid Karadzha low, and then backed by several others, 
who were fired by his example and snatched up knives and 
furtutire and any other weapon that was handy, attacked 
Karadzhas' companion Vasili. He attempted to escape, but 
was soon overtaken and hacked to pieces. The third who 
was watching on the ridge when he saw the fate of his comrades, 
made off with all speed. This tale which is actually true gives 
an excellent illustration of the state of the country in those 
years. It shows the daring impudence of the brigands, and 
the patience of the people till goaded to desperation. Karadzhas 
is said by some to have been a Kupatshar, by others to have 
been a Greek from Greece. A week or ten days before his 
death he had held up an earlier caravan of Samarina families 
in the Pade Mushata on the Morminde. This we have on the 
authority of a man who was present as a boy. He and other 
boys as usual when nearing a camping-place were going on 
ahead of the families, and running down from the col of Mor- 
minde to the Pade Mushata, and with them was a man with 
a rifle, to see if all was safe for the families. Suddenly Karadzhas 
and his two companions looked out from behind some trees 
and ordered hands up. The man was disarmed, bound and 
thro\vn into a ravine near by. The boy spectators of the scene 
were too frightened to give warning. Then as the families 
came down the narrow track in Indian file Karadzhas ordered 
them to halt and pay a dollar a mule. Wlien the families at 
first refused he left his two men to watch, and went alone 
amongst the mules and began cutting the ropes and letting 
the loads fall. The families were then obliged to pay : our 
informant's family which had seven mules thus paid seven 
dollars. The families however too frightened to camp in the 
Pade Mushata after this, went down to the khan of Philippei. 
There they found a detachment of Turkish troops who imme- 
diately went in search of Karadzhas. They surprised him, as 
he and his companions were sitting round a fire dividing their 
spoil. Though they had no sentinel, yet the three brigands 
escaped, but with the loss of all their booty. A few days later 
Karadzhas and one of his comrades met their fate in holding up 


a second caravan of Samarina families as related. They say 
that when Karadzhas was killed he had his pet lamb with him — 
the Vlachs in the summer delight in keeping pet lambs (Plate 
XI i), which they kill for the festival of the Assumption. 
Karadzhas' lamb was captured, killed and eaten by the 
triumphant Samariniats. 

Another brigand Yeoryios Yioldhasis who haunted the 
mountains of Samarina, was caught and shot by the Turks 
near the village. His head was brought into Samarina and 
hanged on the willow tree in the middle of misohori. His 
death, which is alleged to have been brought about by 
treachery, is recorded in this local song : — 

Three little partridges were sitting on the crest of Zmolku. One 
looks at Yannina, and another down towards Konitsa, and the third 
the smallest looks at Samarina. Yeoryi get up from there, away with 
you high up to the look-out post. The patrols have entrapped us, 
they have taken our heads. In front they bring us bread, and behind 
is the patrol. 

In the summer of 1881 the Turkish government took active 
measures against the brigands who were still at large. Eventu- 
ally a major called Mukhtar Agha succeeded in inducing most 
of them to submit. The principal brigands who agreed to 
come in on the promise of a free pardon were Ghushu al Dhispuli, 
nicknamed Makriyeni, because his beard reached to his knees, 
and his lieutenant Simika, both of Samarina ; Makri of Perivoli, 
the brothers Garelia of Briaza, and Gika an Albanian. In all 
forty-seven are said to have submitted, and on hearing the 
news the commandant of Yannina came up to Samarina with 
a large force to receive their formal submission and to issue 
the pardons. The events that followed are related in the two 
following songs : — 

Have you heard what happens this summer ? The klephts and all 
the captains have submitted. The treacherous commandant deceived 
them and misled them : he said to them, " Come here that I may 
give you pardons." And they poor fellows were deceived, and were 
shut up in his courtyard. The hour was six or seven about midday. 
When Mukhtar Agha heard of it he was very angry. 

The three Vlach villages have deceived me and betrayed me, 
Avdhela, and Perivoli, and treacherous Samarina. My friends, my 
fellow-countrymen, have betrayed me, the dogs, and said to me. 


" GDme leader, come and submit ! " and they said to me, " Come, 
Ghushu, come and submit, submit to the Pasha in the house of Pagatsa. 
They took us and they bound us, Albanian dogs ! About evening 
they take us along the mountains, at dawn they bring us to Furka, 
they take us to Yannina. The Albanian dogs took us and hanged us. 

What happened on the coming of the commandant to 
Samarina was this. All the brigands who had agreed to 
surrender were called into the village and formally submitted. 
They were in Samarina three days ; then the commandant 
told them to come to his house after midday when the trumpet 
sounded. He was stopping in the big house of Pagatsa on 
the ridge of Gudrumitsa which has a large courtyard in front 
of it (Plate XVI i). He promised that he would then have 
their pardons ready so that they could go to their homes. 
The trumpet sounded soon after midday when nearly every- 
body was taking his midday siesta. Further as it was a 
festival, the day of St Elijah, the event was not likely to 
attract much notice in the village. When the unarmed 
brigands entered the courtyard of the house, troops entered 
from the other side, seized and bound them. Then for the 
next two days the forty-seven brigands bound were paraded 
about Samarina under escort as an object-lesson to the in- 
habitants. After that the commandant departed for Yannina 
taking the brigands with him. On the way at Furka he shot 
three of them, the brothers Garelia, and Gika. The rest were 
thrown into prison at Yannina where Makri of Perivoli and 
ten others died. After nineteen years the survivors were 
released on June 20th 1900 O.S., and came up to Samarina 
for the summer. In the autumn they went down into Greece. 
Dhispuli now (191 1) serves as watchman at a chiftlik near 
Trikkala. His lieutenant Simika came to the Samarina 
district in 1903 as a brigand, was sentenced to ten years' 
penal servitude in Greece in 1904, and died in prison. 

Other brigands of Samarina who flourished at the same 
time were Nak'i Pala, Nak'i Katarah'ia, and the three 
brothers Shkraku named Dzhima, Yeoryi and Zisi. These three 
latter together with Davelis, and the brothers Garelia plundered 
the village of Visiani in the Zaghori on April 25th 1881 O.S., 


and took away five mule-loads of booty, and thirteen captives 
including a priest and eight women. The damage they did 
is said to have amounted to 5500 pounds Turkish. Some of 
the exploits of Katarah'ia have been chronicled by Sir Valentine 
Chirol. He was one of those who raided Hrupishta : he seems 
to have delighted in fiendish cruelty, and was for some time 
the terror of Upper Macedonia. 

At the congress of Berlin and in the subsequent treaty in 
1878 after the close of the Russo-Turkish war it was proposed 
that Thessaly and Epirus should be ceded to Greece. The 
Porte obstinately refused to hand over the provinces in ques- 
tion, and a conference was summoned at Constantinople in 
1881 which finally persuaded the Ottoman government to 
cede the greater part of Thessaly, and the province of Arta. 
In the interval the Vlachs of Pindus disturbed by the proposed 
partition of their country sent in a petition to the Great 
Powers asking that either less or more territory should be 
ceded to Greece, so that whatever happened they would not be 
divided between two states. Samarina joined in this petition 
which is said to have contained fourteen thousand signatures. 
The prospect of the division of the country inhabited in winter 
and summer by the people of Samarina was of course a matter 
of the greatest moment. 

If we consider for a moment the distribution of the 
Samarina families in the winter it will easily appear how the 
eventual cession of Thessaly to the kingdom of Greece in 1881 
affected the fortunes of Samarina. For all those who were 
accustomed to winter round about Larissa, Tirnavos, Trik- 
kala, Kalabaka and Kardhitsa it meant the erection of a 
customs barrier between their winter quarters and their 
summer homes. Many decided to settle permanently in the 
towns of Thessaly, and become Hellenic subjects. Others, 
while still remaining Turkish subjects, were afraid to go up 
to Samarina for the summer. The houses of those who no 
longer came up for the summer remained tenantless year in 
and year out. In course of time the severity of the winters 
and the lack of repairs caused many of them to fall into ruin. 
Thus we may say that the political events of 1881 coupled 


with the lack of pubHc safety in Southwest Macedonia pro- 
duced what we may call a dispersion of Samarina, from which 
it only recently began to recover. At this time many of 
the shepherds gave up sheep rearing and took to other trades, 
and many others too wandered away in search of work and 
never returned to their native village. In 1886 troubles 
between Greece and Turkey broke out again and there was 
great danger of war. As Samarina was close to the new 
frontier, war was likely to affect the village seriously. Con- 
sequently most of those who were wintering in Thessaly de- 
cided at the suggestion of Zisi al Dzhimuzhoga, the principal 
sheep owner of Samarina, not to go up to their home for the 
summer, but to stay in Thessaly or go up into the Thessalian 
hills. As a result the village was almost deserted that year, and 
the next summer too not many families went up for the season. 
Like other historical events this was celebrated by a song : — 

Firs of Zmolku, pines of Samarina, do not open your buds this 
year ; wither up this year. The Vlachs have not appeared to us from 
the midst of Greece. Some have gone to the Aghrapha, and some to 
Renda, most have gone to Slitshani, none will remain, and some have 
stayed in the plains, down in the plains. Curse on the cause, Zisis 
Dzhimuzhogas ; he is the cause, he was the reason. He brought misery 
on the people and all the Vlach villages. Girls still remain unmarried 
and young men betrothed. 

The last line refers to a Vlach custom, peculiar to the 
nomad villages about which more is said above. As a rule 
betrothals take place about the festival of the Assumption, 
when most folk are in Samarina, and the weddings take place 
the following year at the same time. If the families for any 
reason did not come up to their native village for the summer, 
no weddings could be celebrated, for the would-be brides and 
bridegrooms would be widely separated. 

Similarly the war of 1897 between Greece and Turkey 
which took place in the spring affected Samarina. Many 
families fled southwards before the Turkish advance, and 
consequently either went up to Samarina late or else did not 
go up at all. This of course only applies to families in the 
habit of wintering in Greek territory. One shepherd told us 


that when the Turks advanced into Thessaly he retired before 
them with his flocks into the hills round Rendina. As the 
war was not over by the time he wanted to go up to the moun- 
tains for the summer he took his flocks for that season into 
the Peloponnese where he pastured on Mt. Khelmos in Achaia. 
But as the war was soon over and the Turkish troops were not 
followed by Albanian irregulars to the same extent as on 
former occasions, the effect of the war on Samarina was slight 
compared with the damage wrought by the risings of 1854 
and 1878. This war is also recorded by a local song : — 

Bitter has the sprnig come upon us, black the summer. Do you 
not mourn villages, and hamlets, and provinces ? What is the evil that 
happens this summer ? This year there will be war, Greece with Turkey. 
It was one Friday evening, Saturday was the day of Lazarus. And the 
Turks conquered, they took Thessaly. Edem Pasha came down from 
the midst of the Meluna, he awakes at Tirnavos, he lunches in Larissa. 
It happened that the day was Easter with the cry of " Christ is risen ! " 
He finds the eggs all red, and the rams ready spitted, and he sweeps 
the villages as far as Velestinos. 

It is said that during the war some Vlachs offered their 

services as volunteers to the Turkish authorities, but they 

were not accepted. Any native of Samarina who took part 

in the war fought on the Greek side. During the negotiations 

for peace a petition was presented to the Great Powers asking 

that the northern part of Thessaly at least should be given 

back to the Ottoman Empire, but this time Samarina had no 

concern with such petitions. The bulk of the population of 

Samarina, then as now, is in politics Greek. But it is possible 

that some adherents of the Roumanian party in the vfllage 

signed the petition. In Samarina as in most Vlach villages 

there are two political parties the Greeks and the Roumanians, 

though all are by nationality Vlachs. In Samarina from time 

immemorial the Greek party has been dominant from its close 

connection with the church, the language of which is Greek. 

Similarly the earliest schools founded in Samarina were those 

started under the auspices of the church. Consequently the 

natural political tendency of the inhabitants was towards 

Greece, and this was greatly strengthened by the cession of 


Thessaly. Samarina was brought nearer the Graeco-Turkish 
frontier, and about half the population of the village were 
wintering in what became Greek territory. To this must be 
added the natural attraction of christian subjects of the 
Ottoman Empire towards the nearest christian state. 

Although it was not till 1905 that the Sublime Porte 
officially recognised the Vlachs as a separate nationality and 
thus placed them on an equal footing with the Greeks, Bul- 
garians and Servians, the Roumanian community at Samarina 
had been recognised by the Turkish provincial authorities in 
1895. The Roumanian school in the village was started in 
1879 and has continued to exist ever since. When it was 
first opened it was exceedingly popular and is said to have 
reached an attendance of about two hundred. However 
the intervention of the Bishop of Ghrevena in the interests of 
Greek soon checked this promising beginning and since then 
the numbers attending the Roumanian school do not seem 
ever to have exceeded fifty, while the Greek school can count 
on two hundred or more. During the years when Greek 
bands were sent into Macedonia to destroy the Roumanian 
propaganda by burning schools and kilHng schoolmasters, 
many of the Roumanian party at Samarina went over to the 
Greek side, but no murders occurred in the village as happened 
elsewhere. On one occasion after the Avdhela murders in 
July 1905 O.S. the Greek band that had committed them pro- 
posed to go on to Samarina to kill some of the prominent 
Roumanians. A strong detachment of Turkish troops hap- 
pened to visit Samarina at the time, and the band could not 
enter the village until they had departed. On their eventual 
entrance however the Greek party at Samarina took up a 
determined attitude and greatly to their lasting credit declared 
they would have no killing. 

From the proclamation of the Ottoman constitution in 
1908 till 1912 Samarina enjoyed peace, and once again com- 
menced to grow larger. The improved political conditions 
induced many who had not seen their native village for many 
a long year to go up again for the summer. One result of 
this was that many new houses were built and several ruinous 


ones restored. Then too there was a growing movement 
visible in the village in favour of families wintering there, 
while the fathers and young men v/ent down to work in the 
towns of the plains. Emigration to America, which first 
began about 1900, was also responsible for an increase in 
prosperity. It is said that there are as many as five hundred 
young men of Samarina working in America and most of them 
send regular remittances home. They go to work for the 
most part in the cotton and boot factories in Lowell, Mass., 
and in Manchester and Nashua, N.H. After 1908 the emigra- 
tion of the young men was unconsciously encouraged by the 
Ottoman constitution under which all christians were liable 
to serve in the Turkish army. Consequently the young men 
of Samarina would get away to America before the time came 
when they were liable to be called up for military service for 
the benefit of the Turk. 

The events in the Balkans in 1912-13 have of necessity 
affected the future of Samarina and what time may bring 
forth one cannot tell. But no one who has visited the village 
can fail to wish that it may flourish and prosper. 


Nicrets fiovva an' ra Tpi^iva k\ TvevKa an' tov Mito-o^ov ! 

Ye Mountains of Ghrevena and Ye Pines of Metsovo ! 

The Ballad of Zhakas 

SAMARINA is the largest and to-day the most flourish- 
ing of a group of Vlach villages along the range of 
Pindus and a brief account of these will help the 
reader to realise the position of the Pindus Vlachs as a whole. 
From Samarina to Smiksi the next village to the south on the 
eastern slope of the range is a journey of three hours. We 
follow the Ghrevena road as far as the Morminde and thence 
diverge along the side of Ghumara past the Pade Mushata. 
Then after crossing the crest of a small ridge running out at 
right angles to the east from the base of Ghumara we descend 
into the head of a small valley. Smiksi is a picturesque 
village of about a hundred houses and, as it lies in the hollow 
at the head of the valley, is not seen till close at hand. It is 
less exposed than Samarina and so is reported to be airless 
and relaxing, but despite this its inhabitants invariably 
winter in the plains about Elassona and Larissa. Smiksi was 
not always an entirely nomad village, for as at Samarina some 
of the inhabitants once lived there permanently and devoted 
themselves to agriculture. They say that lower down in the 
valley at a place called Biga, there was once an agricultural 
village. The people of this joined with others from elsewhere 
and founded Smiksi which was at first rather higher up the 
hill side than it is to-day. The small stream by which the 
site of Biga lies eventually joins the main river by the khan 
of Philippei. It is a wide, grassy valley and the slopes are 


dotted with pines, but there stands alone in the bottom of 
the valley one tall pine, which is called the tree of Ayios 
Kosmas. They say that when he visited Smiksi the tree was 
small and that he blessed it and fastened a wooden cross to 
its top. The tree in the years that have passed since then has 
grown very tall, but the cross is still there, fastened to its 
top, to bear witness to the truth of the tale. The houses in 
Smiksi are neatly kept, but small in size except a few which 
are as so often happens the product of emigration or successful 
brigandage. The village as a whole when compared with its 
neighbours is somewhat lacking in character and is over- 
shadowed by Samarina and Avdhela, largely through its 
small size and consequent lack of any prominent industry. 
In one respect however it is to be envied, for it has kept clear 
of pohtical quarrels. Vlach is the only spoken language 
except in the church, but the dialect contains many Greek 
words for the inhabitants nearly all winter in Greek districts. 
As to trade it may be said that the people of Smiksi practise the 
same as Samarina, but to a less extent ; the two principal 
trades are those of shepherd and muleteer. From the village 
a difficult track leads over the shoulder of Ghumara to Briaza 
and the Aous valley, and another following the eastern side of 
the main range of Pindus leads to Avdhela, which is about 
two and a half hours away. 

If Smiksi tends to be small and featureless, Avdhela is 
the reverse and has a definite character of its own. It has 
large forests, chiefly of pine and most of its wealth in conse- 
quence depends on the trade in timber. Planks from the 
Avdhela saw mills are taken down regularly by Vlach mule- 
teers to the districts of Ghrevena and Kozhani, and North 
Thessaly. The lack of historical documents of any kind and 
the vagueness of local tradition makes a detailed history of 
the village quite impossible, but the following perhaps may 
be taken as including the main points in its development. 
Its origin is attributed to several Vlach shepherds who for 
the sake of greater security joined their various family camps 
into one. No one pretends to know the date when this hap- 
pened, but there is a general idea that it was some two hundred 


years ago. The positions occupied by the hut encampments 
of the different groups of shepherd f amiUes, before their union 
into one village, are still pointed out in the immediate neigh- 
bourhood and are known by the following names, Boboania, 
Sardhimiu, G'oni, Broti and Guguleka, which are said to 
have been those of the original founders. As far as we know 
however such family names do not exist in Avdhela to-day. 
By the beginning of the nineteenth century the village must 
have been of some size, for about that time thanks to Albanian 
raids and the government of AH Pasha a group of Avdheliat 
shepherd families under the leadership of Badraleksi migrated 
to the hills above Verria and settled there. Besides these 
other families left their homes in Pindus and settled else- 
where and apparently about the same period the practice of 
the whole village leaving their home for winter, instead of 
only the shepherds and a few families, began to increase. 
Lack of safety in the first instance probably induced whole 
families to move and the same reason would make many of 
them settle more or less permanently in the towns of the plains. 
This in fact can be seen to-day, when many brigands are known 
to be out the number of families which venture up to their 
summer homes is appreciably fewer, and as soon as conditions 
become better the number increases and some will begin to 
stay in the hills the whole year through. In Macedonia and 
Epirus the hills are a refuge and protection against the govern- 
ment, but the plains and towns against private and political 
brigands. The principal places whither the Avdheliat families 
go to winter are Ghrevena, Elassona and Dhamasi, and Tshoti, 
Zarkos and Ghrizhano in the Peneus valley between Trikkala 
and Larissa. But compared with Samarina and Perivoli the 
number of Avdheliat families in Thessaly is small, for most of 
the Avdhela emigrants have gone to the hills of Verria. Conse- 
quently except for the timber trade the cession of Thessaly to 
Greece in 1881 affected Avdhela less than Samarina. Latterly 
the political troubles between 1903 and 1908 have done serious 
harm to the village, for Avdhela like its colonists in the hills 
of Verria is strongly nationalist. In 1905 a party of nation- 
alist families on their way from Ghrevena to Avdhela for the 


summer was attacked on the road by Greek bands and, in 
spite of a strong escort of Turkish soldiers, was scattered 
and plundered, several of the troops and Avdheliats being 
killed. Later in the same year a political band from Greece 
raided the village, killed some of the nationalist leaders and 
fired some of the houses. In the conflagration the principal 
church then used by the nationalists was burnt, whether 
intentionally is not known for certain. After 1908 when 
affairs were for a time quieter many families returned and the 
village began to increase, a circumstance which was especially 
due to the inflow of money from America, but by 191 1 only 
a portion of the destruction wrought by the Greeks had been 

In appearance Avdhela is a typical Vlach village standing on 
the side of a hill, and contains about three hundred and fifty 
houses, most of which stand in a small garden. There are 
several churches in the village, but none are of any great age 
or of any interest except the big church that was burnt. The 
oldest is dated to 1751 or perhaps 1721, for the lettering is not 
clear, and a slab on the wall of the burnt one records its erec- 
tion by Greek masons from Zhupan, There are two schools 
in the village, one Greek and one Roumanian, and at the time 
of our last visit in 191 1 the latter had by far the best attend- 
ance. The boast of Avdhela in recent years has been its great 
success in education, for in this point the Roumanian schools 
have an advantage over the Greek in using a script which is 
of more than strictly local use. Further not so much time 
is wasted in teaching ancient history which is the great curse 
of nearly all Greek village education. 

Not much over an hour from Avdhela is Perivoli, situated 
like its neighbour on the slope of Pindus, but in a more exposed 
position. In situation, appearance and history the two vil- 
lages are very similar. Perivoli according to tradition was 
founded some two hundred years ago by the union of three 
villages, Bithultsi, Karitsa and Baietan. At first the united 
village was not on the site of the modern Perivoli, but lower 
down the valley by the monastery of Ayiu Nikola where the 
inhabitants cultivated corn fields and vineyards. When the 


village was moved up the hill is apparently not known. Like 
Avdhela and Samarina it was formerly more prosperous than 
it is now. It suffered from the rule of Ali Pasha, and the 
cession of Thessaly made a great difference to it because a large 
number of Perivoliats winter in Thessaly. After the cession 
of Thessaly in 1881 many of these settled permanently in the 
towns, but apparently a little time before this there had been 
some emigration from Perivoli. One of the great trades of 
the village was that of shepherd and the number of sheep owned 
by the village increased enormously up to 1877, so much so 
that the pasture land of Perivoli could carry no more sheep. 
Then some of the shepherds had to find fresh pasture grounds 
for the summer, and in consequence of this a large number of 
Perivoli people, who wintered at Toivash and in the plain to 
the east of Larissa, started a summer village of their own at 
Istok on the hills between Resna and Okhridha. This Toivash- 
Istok colony of Perivoli numbers about two hundred families, 
and another hundred famihes are settled at Alii Meria and 
elsewhere near Ano-Volos. But the great wintering-place 
for Perivoli folk is Velestinos and the villages near it such as 
Taktalasman, Dedheryianni and Khatsobasi where there 
are said to be at least about four hundred families some of 
which are permanently settled there. Trikkala, which might 
be called the Vlach metropolis, contains about two hundred 
Perivoli families and these go for the summer to a place called 
Koromilia in the hills above Kalabaka. Thus it will be seen 
that the village was once much larger than it is to-day. Tradi- 
tion says that the upper part of the village where the ruins 
of houses can be seen was thick with habitations which reached 
as far as the edge of the pade on the top of the slope above. 
This open green which possesses a fine spring of cold water 
is the place where the great village dances are held every year 
at the festival of Sanda Vineri as the Perivohats usually call 
their patron saint. The feature of the village is its misohori 
or square which like the pine tree on the church at Samarina 
is the envy of its neighbours. It is a wide terrace partly 
natural and partly built up on the sloping hill side and on three 
sides has shops or houses, the latter tower-like buildings several 


stories high. On the fourth side the ground falls away sharply 
and leaves an unbroken view over the lower part of Perivoli 
and line after line of wooded hills rising above the valley, at 
the head of which the village stands. A few large plane trees 
for shade, a spring near at hand and a seat along the terrace 
edge make this misohori the obvious centre for Perivoliat 
rank and fashion. On an extension of the misohori to the 
north-west stands the principal church, at the east end of 
which there is another small terrace well shaded with plane 
trees and affording good opportunities for quiet talk on hot 
days. Beyond the church are the two schools, Greek and 
Roumanian which divide the juvenile population of the vil- 
lage between them. The territories of Perivoli which exceed 
those of any other Pindus village, are mostly covered with 
thick forests of pines. Timber and wood cutting coupled with 
sheep-rearing are the chief trades, but in recent years emigra- 
tion has increased and it is on money made in America that 
Perivoli now mainly depends. On the far side of Mount 
Ou or Mount Egg, which takes its name from the peculiarly 
shaped rock on its summit, is a deep wooded ravine rejoicing 
in a trout stream that runs down to join the Aous near Baieasa. 
This is the famous Vale Kalda the sure refuge of brigands and 
the pride of the whole land of Perivoli. Tradition records 
that the metal workings here are those of the Romans who 
also fought a battle in this valley in days gone by. That fight- 
ing occurred here is probable from the modern reputation of 
the valley which affords a short cut across the mountain of 
Perivoli and might be of strategic importance, but we know of 
no reason for assigning either the fighting or the metal work- 
ings to the Romans. The Vale Kalda, which the state of the 
country did not allow us to visit, would certainly be worth 
investigation, for even if the tales about its history are in- 
accurate, its scenery and its trout would repay the traveller. 
The costume of Perivoli is the same as at Samarina and the 
national dress is more worn than at Avdhela. But the Peri- 
voli type is shorter in the skirts, for the tsipune and the kilted 
shirt stop above the knees, and the whole costume is less 


Samarina, Smiksi, Avdhela and Perivoli are the only 
villages in Pindus where nearly all the population migrates 
each winter to the plains, and for this very reason form a group 
by themselves and have many points in common. The effects 
of their annual migrations are various. They promote a 
wider outlook on life in general in contrast to the utter stagna- 
tion normal in remote villages, and they also do much towards 
keeping alive a strong local patriotism. On the other hand the 
yearly changes are a serious financial drain, for they involve 
the upkeep of two houses apart from the expenses of transit ; 
but what is lost in cash is perhaps gained in health by a summer 
in the hills. The mode of life is affected chiefly in the following 
ways. Agriculture is almost impossible and is in consequence 
despised. Home comforts to be of any use must be portable 
and so an abundance of rugs, blankets, carpets and cushions 
is a sign of wealth. Local opinion in valuing the four villages 
always places Samarina first, as it is by far the largest having 
eight hundred houses to about four hundred at Perivoli. 
Though all have good water that of Samarina is the coldest, 
and the climate in summer is cooler and so better. Then it has 
an annual festival that lasts for a week, it has more pastry- 
cooks, it consumes more wine and finally there is the famous 
pine tree growing on the roof of Great St Mary's to prove the 
truth of the local proverb " Dumnidzeu easte Sdrmdn'atu." 
" God is a Samariniat " and so bestows his favours on his 
native village. As to which village ranks next there is some 
dispute ; Avdhela would plead education, Perivoli its forests, 
its village square, and its mountain. Smiksi — happy is the 
place that has no politics and no ambitions — is content to come 
last among the four villages all of which consider themselves 
vastly superior to their neighbours. They carry this attitude 
so far that they will very rarely marry outside themselves, 
and not often with one another. Of the four, intermarriage 
between Avdhela and Perivoli is the commoner ; Smiksi, 
which used to go more with Avdhela, has latterly owing to 
its political sympathies inclined more towards Samarina. 
Samarina as regards intermarriage makes an exception in 
favour of Furka, and the only other villages admitted into the 


circle are Turia and Baieasa. As to the morals of the four 
local cynics give their verdict thus. Smiksiats kill through 
hatred ; Avdheliats rob by guile — is this the result of educa- 
tion ? — ; Perivoliats rob by force ; Samariniats are skilful and 
successful liars. This estimate is probably libellous, but need 
not for that reason be entirely untrue. 

Between Perivoli and Turia the next important village to 
the south there is little to be noticed. We leave Perivoli 
by the main track to Ghrevena which we follow down the 
valley as far as the monastery of St Nicholas. Here according 
to several accounts services in Roumanian instead of Greek 
were held as far back as 1867, but the building is now in ruins 
and was used some few years ago by a band of brigands 
lying in wait for the Perivoliat families on their way home in 
the spring. Just beyond the monastery we turn southwards 
through some of the finest of the Perivoli woods and passing 
a few saw mills after some two hours' walking cross a steep ridge 
and emerge by the poverty-stricken hamlet of Labanitsa. 
Labanitsa possesses some vineyards and a few fields of hay 
and maize is situated in an open valley which under more 
favourable circumstances should be capable of successful 
cultivation. The soil is good and deep, there is abundance of 
water and the hills around are well timbered. Despite these 
natural advantages the village is in a poor condition ; the 
houses are in a state of decay and its inhabitants exist rather 
than live. The people of Labanitsa are Kupatshari, who have 
been described in an earlier chapter. 

Hence up the valley to Turia is a short three hours through 
country very pleasant to look upon. Turia or as the Greeks 
call it Krania is a good-looking and prosperous village consider- 
ing its position near the old Grse co-Turkish frontier and on the 
high road between Yannina and Ghrevena. It lies at the 
foot of a group of hills adjoining the Pindus range to the north- 
east of Metsovo and the stream that runs through it is a tribu- 
tary of the Venetiko. The meaning of Turia the Vlach name 
of the village is, as far as we can tell, unknown. Krania the 
Greek name means cornel tree, and arose from the following 
circumstance. A large cornel tree used to stand just outside 


the village by the khan on the Ghrevena-Metsovo road, and, 
as this was a favourite halting-place for muleteers, it became 
widely known and eventually gave its name to the village. 
Being considerably lower than either Perivoh or Avdhela Turia 
is inhabited all the year round. It owns several cornfields and 
vineyards, although some of them have been abandoned 
through the political troubles of recent years. Near the village 
are one or two mills ; the hills give good pasturage for sheep ; 
and on the south side of Mount Ou there are several saw mills. 
The Turia Vlachs, unlike those in most of the higher villages, 
cultivate their fields themselves instead of employing Greek, 
Turkish or Bulgar labourers. Nearly every house stands in 
its own garden which is full of vegetables and flowers ; thus 
the village, which is divided into several parishes, covers a 
large area for its population of about two thousand souls. 
There are seven churches, the largest of which built in 1790 
stands in the centre of the village close to a huge plane tree. 
The other six are on the outskirts of the village or else a short 
distance outside it. This is the usual position for churches in 
Macedonian villages and is probably due to a law in force 
at least in the vilayets of Yannina and Monastir as late as the 
middle of the nineteenth century, which enacted that no church 
might be built within the village area. Local tradition how- 
ever has a more romantic explanation for the position of the 
Turia churches. All so they say, stand on the original village 
boundary which was marked out some two hundred years ago 
by a pair of black oxen yoked to a plough. When the boundary 
was thus determined they were buried alive with the plough 
on the spot where the church of St Elijah now stands. This 
tale is highly suspicious, the more so since it comes from a 
village which would delight in proving a Roman ancestry. 
Still suspicious though the tale is, it does not however seem 
to be an invention of the last few years, for it is known better 
by the older generation than by the younger. Pouqueville, 
who gives no authority for his statement, says that the village 
was founded in 1507. Local tradition says that round about 
where Turia now stands were four hamlets, Nturia, Akornu — 
kornu is the Vlach for a cornel — Kaldarosha and Kodru Mare 


which about two hundred years ago came together to found the 
existing village. Leake in the early years of the nineteenth 
century stayed a night at Turia and describes it as consisting 
of fifty neat cottages, and having an appearance of comfort 
and successful industry seldom seen in Greek or Turkish 
villages ; " unhappily " for these poor Vlakhiotes " he adds, 
" their village has lately become one of Aly Pasha's tjiftliks." 
Since then Turia has increased and prospered and is now a free 
village. Its recent history is the tale of the struggle of rival 
propagandas. In 1884 a Roumanian school was started — there 
had previously been only a Greek school — owing to local enter- 
prise and the nationalist Vlach party grew rapidly in numbers. 
The strength of the nationalists was principally due to the fact 
that they found an efficient leader in Dimitri Tshikma, a man 
of energy and organising ability. In the dark years between 
1905 and 1908 his life was more than once attempted by 
Greek bands, but he always escaped though once severely 
wounded. In the autumn of 1912 he was killed when the 
Greeks occupied the district. When force was employed to stop 
the nationalist movement he saw to it that the bands that 
came against his home got more than they gave. He enlisted 
the services of the Skumbra family, three brothers, Farsherot 
Vlachs and skilled brigands who settled at Turia. Just before 
the war of 1912 six out of the seven churches were in the hands 
of the nationalist party and their school was flourishing. This 
proportion of six to one, although the Greek party was small, 
exaggerates the difference in size between the two sides, and at 
Turia the Greek propaganda and schools have suffered at the 
hands of the nationalists. Elsewhere almost without excep- 
tion, the reverse is the case, which shows what a great differ- 
ence one energetic leader m.akes in spreading a propaganda. 
Amongst the neighbouring villages Turia has acquired some 
reputation for its dances which in summer are held nearly 
every Sunday as well as on festivals. They even go so far as 
to keep gipsy musicians in the village most of the summer. 
To the stranger however the dances show no peculiar char- 
acteristics and have no features that cannot be seen as well or 
better elsewhere. 


A short distance to the west of Turia the road from Ghrevena 
to Metsovo and Yannina enters the foothills of Pindus by the 
narrow and wooded gorge of the river of Milia. An hour and 
a half from Turia and some four hours short of Metsovo the 
pass opens out into a small upland valley. Here on a knoll 
above a few well-watered meadows is the small Vlach village 
of Ameru, which the Greeks call Milia, locally known to fame 
for the excellence of its roast lamb and its yiaurti. Although 
it is situated half-way between Turia and Metsovo the centres 
of rival propagandas, Ameru inclines towards the wealth and 
strength of Metsovo. Vlach is the language of the village, 
and the men all know Greek as well, but how far this language 
is known by the women we cannot say. It is quite probable 
that some of the older women know no word of Greek. In 
the village itself there is little or nothing of interest ; the 
church is a large barn-like building dating from 1754 and so 
somewhat older than most. The neighbourhood is too un- 
settled for trade, except the inevitable ones of timber cutting, 
wool working, sheep rearing and muleteering. The village 
is too small to do much business and many have emigrated 
to find work in Constantinople, America, Australia, Roumania 
and New Zealand. From Turia to Ameru the road is good, 
but from Ameru to Metsovo it is little more than a rough 
track, although in places it shews signs of having once been 
a cobbled way. 

The position of Metsovo or Amintshu, as its inhabitants 
the Vlachs call it, on the great pass through Pindus over the 
ridge of the Zighos, has been described so often that we may 
pass on at once to some account of the village itself. Under the 
Turks Metsovo was the seat of a kaimmakam and had a small 
permanent garrison lodged in a tumbledown castle of no great 
size that stood on a knoll in the centre of the town. The town 
or rather village, for its present condition scarcely warrants 
the former title, consists of two parts one on either side of a 
deep ravine. The larger and more important portion which 
faces south is called Serinu (Sunny, the Latin serenus) or in 
Greek Prosilion, and the smaller which is situated on the lower 
slopes of Peristeri and has a northern aspect is known as 


Nkiare, Sunset, or in Greek Anilion. Though both parts are 
inckided under the name of Metsovo or Amintshu, yet the 
latter names are as a rule restricted to Serinu, and Nkiare is 
regarded as a separate village. In many old accounts of the 
size of Metsovo it is often left uncertain whether Nkiare is 
included or not. At present both divisions in all probability 
do not contain more than six hundred houses in all, of which 
the large majority and all the important public buildings are 
in Serinu. Metsovo presents the curious anomaly of a worn-out 
village which is still or at least up to the war of 1912 was still 
decaying, but which nevertheless possesses a group of public 
buildings far and away superior to those of any of its more 
prosperous neighbours. These are all due to the generosity 
of a number of its sons and in particular to George Averoff. 
Averoff, by birth a Vlach, by name a Slav and by education 
and preference a Greek, was a native of Metsovo. Leaving his 
native village in early youth he had a brilliant business career 
and amassed a large fortune. Having been born at a time 
when all local education was entirely Greek and due to Greek 
initiative and progress, Greece naturally became his adopted 
country. He rebuilt the stadium at Athens in marble and 
together with some other natives of Metsovo the Historical 
and Ethnological Museum at Athens. The Greek cruiser that 
bears his name, the only modern ship in the Greek navy, was 
bought through his munificence. In his gifts to Greece his 
native village was not forgotten. A large school was erected 
and endowed ; a public garden was laid out ; and a large sum 
of money was left on trust that its income should be used for 
the improvement of Metsovo. One result of the Averoff 
benefactions has been to make Metsovo more Greek than 
Vlach. At the present day Vlach though still the mother 
tongue is looked upon with disfavour and vigorous efforts were 
made to suppress a small Vlach school which was patronised 
by a few families. Whenever a stranger appears Metsovo 
does its best to disguise its Vlach origin, and pretends to be 
purely Greek. An interesting paper by a Greek doctor, Mr. 
Spiridhon Sokolis, who practised there in 1861 shews how 
great a change has taken place in this respect in recent years. 


At that time with only a few exceptions none of the women or 
the boys up to the age of ten knew Greek at all, so that Mr. 
Sokolis had to employ an interpreter. The men however 
could speak Greek freely as it was an essential language for 

Despite its school, its buildings and the Averoff trust 
Metsovo is far from being a flourishing town. It has little 
trade, there is no prosperous local industry and its flocks and 
herds are few. The women work wool to some extent and 
recently were learning to weave carpets. The majority of the 
men go to find work abroad and many of them are prosperous 
merchants in Greece or in other parts of the Levant, but they 
have mostly severed all connection with their original homes. 
The rest, nearly all in fact who keep up any connection with 
Metsovo, are small shopkeepers, smiths or wandering masons, 
carpenters or wood carvers. We have already commented on 
the fact that the Vlachs of Metsovo are masons, this is probably 
due to its having been a settled town when most of the other 
villages were still collections of temporary huts. Vlach 
carpenters considering how much of the timber trade is in 
Vlach hands are few in number and deficient in skill. Wood 
carving as a craft seems peculiar to Metsovo and is only 
practised by a few who wander from place to place in search 
of work. The strong similarity that exists between the carved 
screens in the churches of Pindus — some are almost identical 
— suggests that all are due to the same school of carvers. It 
is just possible therefore that they may be largely of Metsovite 
origin, but this is mere conjecture and as far as we know is 
unsupported by local tradition, although they say that the 
elaborate ceilings still to be seen in some of the older houses 
in Yaninna, that date from the times of Ah Pasha, are the 
work of craftsmen from Metsovo. 

The early history and origin of Metsovo is most obscure 
and no connected account is possible, but we give the following 
notes and anecdotes for what they are worth. In 1380 Thomas, 
despot of Epirus, seized and extorted money from a certain 
Isaiah of Metsovo whom the Chronicle of Epirus describes as 
TiiMiojTUTog h hpof/bovuy^oig and Kudf^YoOpusvog rov Msr^o/Boy. The 


same document has many references to the Vlachs of Pindus, 
especially the Malakasians, a name which then seems to have 
extended as far as the Zaghori and perhaps included Metsovo 
as well, though there is no other mention of the town itself. 
It is not clear whether Metsovo was then in existence as a 
permanent settlement or not, but by the fifteenth century it 
was occupied by a group of Vlach families who were in the 
habit of wintering in Thessaly at Neokhori or Ghrizhano. 
The following explanation as to how this nomad village came 
to obtain privileges from the Sublime Porte and so prospered 
and grew, is given by Aravandinos and Lambridhis, whose 
accounts differ slightly in details. If the tale is true, then it 
fully exemplifies the proverb that sober truth is stranger than 
fiction. In the year 1656 a Vizier fell under the displeasure 
of Sultan Mohammed the fourth and was in consequence 
banished to Kastoria. Even there the wrath of his master 
pursued him and he was sentenced to death. However the 
Vizier heard of his master's intentions in good time and so 
took to flight. In his wanderings he took refuge in the house 
of a priest at Ghrizhano and there he met a certain Vlach of 
Metsovo, Steryiu or K'iriu Floka. Floka dressed the Vizier 
in Vlach clothes, befriended him and concealed him at Metsovo. 
In the due course of time it came to pass that the Sultan 
repented and pardoned the Vizier who returned to Con- 
stantinople and became Grand Vizier. He did not forget 
Floka and sending for him asked what he desired for himself 
and his native village which had sheltered him in his distress. 
Whereupon Floka asked for various privileges for Metsovo, 
to wit, a partial remission of taxation, special grazing rights 
and the wardenship of the pass. All these were granted and 
extended also to the adjacent Vlarh villages of Malakasi, 
Kutsufiiani, Ameru and Vutunoshi. In this way Metsovo from 
being a group of huts became a privileged town and as such 
attracted Vlachs from all parts, for it offered them safety and 
through its position on the pass excellent opportunities for 
trade. UTiatever the truth of the tale of Floka it is a fact 
that special privileges were enjoyed by Metsovo up to the time 
of Ali Pasha, but they seem to have been due to the fact that 


the district was directly under the Vahde Sultan and so not 
subject to the various extortions of each local pasha in turn. 
Moreover towns on passes often receive preferential treatment, 
especially when they are largely composed of muleteers, a 
class which it is to no one's interest to oppress. 

Though we cannot accept the romantic history of Aravan- 
dinos and Lambridhis, for it seems that the Vlach districts had 
been under the protection of the Valide Sultan ever since the 
Turkish conquest in the sixteenth century, yet it does seem 
to be true that it was in the seventeenth century that Metsovo 
first began to prosper. Lambridhis says that in 1735 it had 
379 houses, early in the nineteenth century 700, and by 
1880 about 835 houses. Leake who was twice here in 1805 
says that on the second occasion he was lodged at Anilio " in a 
neat Vlahkiote cottage which has a plastered floor and walls 
and an air of comfort unknown in the houses of the Greek 
peasants." Holland who travelled in 1812 and 1813 estimates 
the number of houses at fifteen hundred, which is probably an 
exaggeration, and Bowen in 1850 speaks of it as a large Wal- 
lachian village with about a thousand houses. Local tradition 
gives an estimate of nine hundred to a thousand houses up to 
1854 ; since then the village has steadily declined, and in 1911 
the total number of houses both in Serinu and Nkiare did not 
exceed eight hundred. It was in the eighteenth and the 
early part of the nineteenth century that Metsovo flourished 
and possessed an important foreign trade. It is said that 
from 1 719 there was a French commercial agency at Metsovo 
concerned mainly with the export trade. Metsovo merchants 
had business houses in Venice, Naples, Trieste, Marseilles, 
Vienna, Moscow, Odessa, Constantinople, Salonica, Seres and 
Alexandria. Woollen goods and thick goat's-hair capes or 
cloaks were the principal objects of this export trade, though 
cheese also played a considerable part. The cheese trade alone 
still continues, and kash kaval is manufactured near Metsovo 
and exported to Italy. Local accounts confirm the existence 
of this extensive foreign trade, but add little or nothing to our 
knowledge of its details. Native industries and home trade 
prospered at the same time. Pewter plates and dishes were a 


local manufacture and a few are still to be seen to-day in the 
village. Woollen rugs and carpets with ornate designs were in 
demand locally and this weaving industry has recently been 
revived. A large carr^dng trade over the Zighos and along 
the Ghrevena road added to the importance of the town, and 
in return for giving hospitality to officials and distinguished 
strangers Metsovo was excused all taxes but the poll tax. This 
arrangement did not necessarily mean that the village gained 
much, because the inhabitants had to support a detachment 
of armatoli to safeguard the pass. The decline of Metsovo 
began in the time of Ali Pasha of Yannina who succeeded in 
getting the town into his hands and in setting its privileges at 
naught. Leake, Pouqueville and others writing about this 
time describe the rapid increase in brigandage and taxation 
which seriously injured all trade. Then came the Greek re- 
volution of 1 82 1 which laid all wealthy christian villages open 
to suspicion and plunder, and about the same time the inven- 
tion of the power-loom in the west of Europe fatally injured 
the woollen trade. 

Any prosperity that remained was finally extinguished 
by the so-called revolution or un-official war of 1854. The 
Russian attack on the northern provinces of Turkey in Europe 
had provoked the most sanguine hopes in Greece, and it was 
generally believed that with the appearance of Greek forces 
across the frontier, Epirus and Thessaly would rise at once 
against the Turks. Officially the Greek government kept the 
peace, but unofficially it encouraged the sending of bands over 
the frontier to stir up insurrection. As happened in the case of 
Samarina and its neighbours the main result of this movement, 
which was a curious mixture of patriotism and plunder, was 
that those who were to be freed from Turkish tyranny found 
themselves pillaged by both sides. During the few months, 
for which this rising lasted, Metsovo like other towns and 
villages in Epirus, and Thessaly suffered heavy losses. The 
town had been incited to revolt by the Greek consul at Yan- 
nina and became the prey of both sides in turn. Ghrivas the 
most prominent of the Greek leaders occupied it and levied 
150,000 piastres from the inhabitants. On the approach of 


the Turkish troops he assembled the women and children in a 
church on the pretext of defending them, but, when he once had 
them safely inside, stripped them of all their jewellery and 
valuables. He then retired to the most easily defensible 
part of the town, but when the Turks began to attack, retired 
burning some thirty houses to cover his retreat. Abdi Pasha 
entered Metsovo and what had been left by Ghrivas was taken 
by the Albanian irregulars. In all about a third of the village 
was destroyed and the rest reduced to a condition of the utmost 
misery. To this account taken almost word for word from the 
Parliamentary Papers we may add an extract from a letter of 
Ghrivas himself which may to some extent shift the blame from 
the leader to his followers. 

" After a battle of historic fame at Metsovo, of which I sent 
you the description and plan to-day, seeing the greatest con- 
spiracies and treacheries existing against me on the part of my 
companions in arms I was compelled to retreat thence and to 
take the direction of Thessaly. . . . Whilst in Epirus I beheld so 
many of our soldiers indulging in every sort of violence, I was 
compelled to dismiss them and now I have about four hundred 
chosen men. Were I to tell you all the atrocities which had 
been committed against the property and honour of the 
christian population by our soldiers both in Epirus and Thessaly 
you would be struck with horror and would curse the hour in 
which this new struggle had first begun." 

Even before the district had been cleared of Greek troops 
Metsovo and other christian villages were appealing to the 
Turks for aid. The troubles of 1878 and 1881 did not affect 
Metsovo so much except that the brigandage that followed the 
rising made the country generally unhealthy for trade. But 
after the cession of Thessaly to Greece in the latter year and the 
advance of the Gr?eco-Turkishfrontier to a line between Metsovo 
and Malakasi the resulting customs barrier on the Zighos killed 
what hopes there were of a revival of trade in this direction. 
The last Balkan war of 1912-13 and the consequent cession of 
Epirus to Greece may revive the trade between Yannina and 
Thessaly along this route, and in this case Metsovo may once 
again prosper, but it is at present too early to judge how great 


a drain this last war has been on the resources of the country. 
To the south of Metsovo along the southern part of the Pindus 
chain the Vlach villages continue. This large group of villages 
is known as the Aspropotamos district mainly because many 
of them lie about the upper waters of that river. But geo- 
graphically and to some extent too dialectically they form a 
separate division of the Vlachs, and since their recent history 
has been so different from that of their northern neighbours 
and we have not been able to visit any of their villages our- 
selves we omit them here. They will be briefly discussed in a 
later chapter. 

From Metsovo therefore we go northwards and following 
the western slope of Pindus instead of the east we come to 
Baieasa and the other Vlach villages of the Zaghori. The 
Zaghori is a rough and hilly district in upper Epirus lying 
between Pindus and the mountains usually known as Papingu 
and Mitsikeli. The main road from Metsovo to Yannina 
which follows the course of the river of Metsovo may be said to 
form the southern boundary of the Zaghori and the upper 
waters of the Aous from its source to Konitsa the northern limit . 
The main route from Metsovo into the Zaghori runs northward 
following up the course of the river of Metsovo and then turning 
to the west by the khan called Pantalonia on the Austrian 
Staff map comes to Floro the first of the Vlach villages of the 
Zaghori. The khan of Pandalonia, which being interpreted 
means " The Trousers Inn," owes its name on the maps to a 
mistake, for its proper name is Pende Alonia, the Five Threshing 
Floors. Many reasons made it impossible for us to visit all the 
Zaghori villages and therefore we made directly for Baieasa by 
a little used route which follows the course of the Aous. This 
track is rather inaccurately marked on the maps and since it 
passes several places of interest it seems worth while to describe 
it in detail. 

We ascend the hill slope to the north behind Metsovo and 
following the course of the river upwards reach in about forty 
minutes a fine, well watered plain on the eastern side of which 
the Aous rises. This particular plain has given rise to some 
discussion owing to the existence in connection with it of 


several names supposed to be survivals from antiquity. Leake 
who was the first to call attention to them, says that the whole 
plain is called Politzia and that on a slope near it is a place 
known as Beratori which is thought to be a corruption of 
Imperatoria. Here wrought stones are said to be found as well 
as coins and traces of metal working. On the opposite side to 
Beratori stood a beech tree called " Fago Scripto." The name 
of the plain is said to be derived from the Greek 'TroXirsla, and to 
indicate that a city once stood here. The Vlachs to-day call it 
Pulitshaii or if they talk Greek Pulitsa or Pulitses which is 
probably merely the Slavonic Politsa, plain. Likewise the 
name Fagu Skriptu is of no importance, although, in spite of 
the fact that there is no "written beech tree" there to-day, 
the name still survives applied to a small wood. 

A name like this is not nearly so remarkable as has been 
thought. We have seen in the case of Samarina that it is a 
Vlach characteristic to name each prominent rock, tree, hill 
or wood, and many similar place names could be quoted. 
Imperatoria or as we were told Peritore is a spot on the stony 
slope at the bottom of the south-western side of Mount Ou. It 
lies on the east bank of the Aous just opposite to the point where 
the road to Floro turns away due west. We could see nothing 
of the ruins which are tentatively marked on the Austrian map 
and are mentioned by Leake and Weigand, but about the plain 
opposite to Imperatoria on the west bank of the Aous we saw 
indications that seem to show that metal working had once been 
carried on here. If however Peritore or whatever the correct 
local form of the name may be, does stand for Imperatoria, 
which we are inclined to doubt, it would seem to show that a 
military camp of Roman times had stood here. That there had 
been a military camp here would not be remarkable because this 
plain lies at the junction of so many important routes. To-day 
it is covered with grassy and well watered meadows. In spring 
and early summer the edges of the rivulets are bright with wild 
flowers and the scent of the new mown hay is heavy in the air. 

From the supposed site of Imperatoria to Baieasa the Aous 
instead of flowing almost straight as the Austrian map implies 
makes a large bend to the west, and the track that is marked 


as following the river bank is also unknown. On enquiring at 
a shepherd's camp the best way to Baieasa we learnt that there 
was a path over the stony ridge on the east bank cutting 
across the bend and rej oining the river about two hours further 
north. The man in charge of the cheese making in the 
camp turned out to be a Vlach from Siraku who was busy mak- 
ing kash kaval for export to Italy. 

After crossing the ridge mentioned we came down to the 
river again by some saw mills belonging to Baieasa. From this 
point to the village our route followed the course of the river 
through a rough and well wooded gorge passable only on foot. 
The timber from the saw mills is not taken into Baieasa, but 
direct to Yannina by way of Floro, and the men at the saw 
mills are only able to find the path to the village by blazing 
trees at intervals to serve as guides. About an hour before 
reaching Baieasa we came to the point where the Vale Kalda 
j oins the Aous, and from there onwards the valley widens out 
and the path is easy. The gorge through which we came was 
full of splendid timber, and the scenery is good, but the place 
has a bad name, for brigandage is not unknown and the sawyers 
are not left to follow their trade in peace. 

Baieasa called by the Greeks Vovusa which is also the 
modern name of the Aous is the most eastern of the villages of 
Zaghori. The extent of this district has already been indicated, 
but since it is one of the best known parts of Epirus a brief 
digression will not be out of place here. The Roumanian 
propaganda claims that the whole region once spoke Vlach, 
but that in the course of time it has been largely hellenized. 
This is inaccurate for really only the eastern part of the Zaghori 
has been and still is Vlach, while the whole of the western 
portion has always been Greek as far as our knowledge goes. 
From the time of Leake to the present day there has been no 
great diminution of the Vlach speaking area which comprises 
the following villages : — 

Leshnitsa, Dobrinovo, PaHohori, Laka called by the 
Greeks Laista, Baieasa, Tsherneshi, SeshT, Floro called by the 
Greeks Phlamburari, Grebenitsi, Makrini, Dragari, Doliani and 


Of these the last four are at least semi-hellenized, and all 
the others are Greek in politics though there is a Roumanian 
party in Baieasa and a few adherents of it in Laka and Tsherneshi 
and one or two other places. Apart from these the remainder 
of the forty-two villages which are reckoned as belonging to the 
Zaghori are inhabited by Greeks alone and in spite of rumours 
to the contrary it does not seem that villages like Neghadhes, 
Thsepolovo and Phrangadhes ever spoke any other language 
within the memory of man. It will be noticed that the name 
Zaghori itself and many of the village names are of Slavonic 
origin, and this feature is common both to the Greek and Vlach 
villages. A few Slavonic words are to be found in the local 
dialect of Greek and the Vlach as always contains Slavonic 
traces, but in all other respects no Slavonic influence can be 
detected to-day, although the names indicate that there was 
once a Slavonic domination and probably also settlement in 
the region concerned. 

The advance and increase of Hellenism in the Zaghori is due 
almost entirely to its close contact with Yannina. In Turkish 
times it was directly dependent on the Vali of Yannina and it 
was one of the ancestral dominions of Ali Pasha. Yannina 
like Metsovo was and still is to some extent a great centre 
of commerce and at the same time of Hellenic education. 
The Greek schools at Yannina in the eighteenth and early 
nineteenth centuries had considerable influence not only in the 
city itself, but in the country subject to it. The spread of 
Greek at that time can be seen in various ways. Ali Pasha used 
Greek almost as his offtcial language, and over the gate of his 
castle at Yannina is an inscription in Greek in which he claims 
descent from Pyrrhus king of Epirus. The great epic of more 
than ten thousand lines relating all his exploits which it was 
his great delight to have read to him by its author Haj ji Sekhret 
a Moslem Albanian from Dhelvino is written entirely in Greek. 
A Moslem Albanian who claims in modern Greek to be a 
descendant of Pyrrhus and delights in a Greek epic of his own 
deeds recited to him by his own Homer is a most remarkable 
phenomenon. Important however though the Greek schools 
at Yannina were, the view that they caused a revival of learning 


cannot be held unless the term learning is degraded to its 
lowest level. Education then as now meant first and foremost 
reading and writing, and because all letters then were Greek 
it meant the spread of Hellenism. The part played by such 
education in the racial questions of the Nearer East can hardly 
be appreciated in Western Europe. 

One man beyond all others helped to spread Greek educa- 
tion among the villages of the Zaghori ; this was a Greek 
priest known since his martyrdom as Ayios Kosmas. The 
Vlach tales about this interesting man are many and various, 
and most are highly coloured by political propaganda that 
only originated many years after his death. 

Now this is the story that the Greeks tell. In the year 
1714 in the village of Meghalo Dhendri in the district of Nau- 
pactus there was born a boy to whom the name Konstas was 
given. From his earliest youth upwards he was filled with a 
great desire for all kinds of learning and having passed through 
many schools with great distinction he withdrew in the year 
1758 to the Holy Mountain to the monastery called Philotheu, 
where he changed his name to Kosmas. After two years at 
Athos he repaired to Constantinople and entered on his life's 
work by preaching in the churches ; thence he journeyed to 
Naupactus, Mesolongi and Vrakhori preaching there likewise. 
In 1775 he was at Athos once again before setting forth on a 
long missionary journey through Albania, Epirus, Acarnania 
and Macedonia. It was on this journey that he visited the 
Zaghori. His fiery zeal for religion was only equalled by his 
passion for education ; he founded many schools ; his elo- 
quence wherever he went attracted great crowds, and Turk 
and christian alike regarded him as a prophet. He foretold 
to Ah Pasha, so the legend runs, his future power and great- 
ness, and after his death Ali Pasha contributed towards 
building a church to his memory near Berat. The end of this 
holy man came on August 24th 1779 when he was hanged at 
Berat by the Turks at the instigation of the Jews of Yannina. 
Among some of the Vlachs, especially the nationalists, a 
different tale is current. They record his journeys among 
the Vlach villages ; at Samarina the place where he preached 


is still shown and the date of his visit is recorded on a rock ; 
he is said to have passed through Baieasa in 1777. But so 
far from being regarded as a saint he is spoken of with the 
utmost hatred as a Greek political agent. He taught so it 
is said that Greek was the language of God and Vlach that of 
the devil. His prophecies and miracles too, it is said, were 
due to trickery and he is accused of using torture against all 
who would not believe in him. 

There is probably more truth in both these versions and 
less discrepancy between them than at first sight appears. 
To attribute his zeal for Greek schools to political propaganda 
to reclaim " Vlachophone Hellenes " is to antedate a move- 
ment by about a centur}^ since it was not until recent times 
that the theory of Hellenes and Vlachs being racially the 
same was ever perpetrated. Kosmas encouraged Hellenism 
merely because he encouraged reading and writing, for the 
two were then almost identical, and for the rest he was prob- 
ably a fanatical priest. Persecution is a common fault in 
such characters, if they are intolerant of opposition, and 
trickery is little thought of especially in such surroundings. 
For example there is prevalent in Macedonia a legend of a 
priest, who by the aid of a gramophone concealed in a tree 
produced a political speech from God Almighty. The 
nationality of the priest differs according to the teller of the 
tale, but the device is thought clever and Odyssean rather 
than disgraceful. That Kosmas at times exceeded the limits 
of peaceful persuasion seems probable from one of his own 
letters in which he says, " Ten thousand christians love me 
and one hates me ; a thousand Turks love me and one not 
so much ; a thousand Hebrews desire my death and only one 
does not." The greatest tribute to his personality is the fact 
recorded by Leake and confirmed by local tradition, that at 
his orders the fair sex of the Zaghori did their hair after a new 
fashion and adopted a new form of headdress. The spread 
of the Greek language in which Kosmas helped both by his 
teaching and by his martyrdom has brought with it the spread 
of Greek customs and ideals. And now intermarriage between 
Greek and Vlach will help to weld the two races into one. 


The past history of the Zaghori which is mainly a Hst of 
acts of brigandage and oppression can be found in a detailed, 
but muddled form in Lambridhis. Each village seems to 
have gone through very similar experiences, so that a few 
details of the past of Baieasa will suffice for an example. 
From the middle of the sixteenth century up to the time of 
Ali Pasha at the beginning of the nineteenth the villages of 
the Zaghori possessed special privileges and many of them were 
under the Valide Sultan. But to regard them, as is some- 
times done, as forming a semi-independent republic is to go 
beyond the evidence. The independence such as it was, was 
presumably more illegal than legal, and the Capitans little 
different from those that existed in every part of the peninsula. 

Baieasa itself according to local tradition was formed by 
an amalgamation of four hamlets, Baietan, St a Vinera, 
Bistritsi and Sand Dumetru. The first of these Baietan it is 
said helped to found Perivoli and since the dialects of Baieasa 
and Perivoli belong to the same group it may be true that 
they have a common origin. The last of the four hamlets 
Sand Dumetru is now the upper quarter of Baieasa around 
the church of Saint Demetrius. Apparently these hamlets 
were not permanent habitations, for they say that the people 
of Baieasa once used to winter at Doliani the Vlach village 
lower down in the Zaghori. So it is possible that Baieasa 
was at first only the summer resort of the shepherds of Doliani 
who eventually made a permanent settlement in the hills. 
Outside the village in a small side valley on the other bank of 
the river a group of Farsherot Vlachs have recently encamped 
each summer. So far they have lived in wooden huts and 
booths, but this annual camp if it continues will in time prob- 
ably join up with the existing village. 

During the eighteenth century, this is the boast of Baieasa, 
the three most famous Capitans of the Zaghori were natives of 
this village and their names and exploits are still recalled. 
They were Yoti Blatshola 1710-1750, Nikolak'i Davli 1750- 
1780 and Badzhu Bairaktari 1780-1800. The dates of these 
three chieftains were told us in Baieasa, but are too simple 
to be accurate and are probably only approximate. Lam- 


bridhis gives the same three names thus, TiMrrj MTTocXrfftopu, 
Aov(5Kri, and Mxar^/o? ; and he assigns the first to 1700-1710, 
but does not date the other two. Blatshola's chief claim to 
fame is the following exploit. He was once captured by his 
enemies, and handed over to the Turks at Yannina and 
sentenced to be immersed in boiling pitch. When brought 
to the pot he dipped his hands in the boiling liquid and fling- 
ing it over executioners, troops and crowd made good his 
escape. He was afterwards killed near Metsovo. The courage 
of Davli is proverbial, but examples of his bravery do not 
survive. Badzhu whose name Bairaktari means standard- 
bearer, is usually connected with Ali Pasha whose standard- 
bearer he is believed to have been. As far as the traditional 
dates go this is quite possible, but the title Bairaktari has, 
especially in Albania, the meaning tribal chief and so the tale 
that he carried Ali Pasha's banner is probably only a pious 
local fiction. 

Brigandage which has always been one of the great pastimes 
of the Southern Balkans seems to have reached its height in 
the Zaghori. During the eighteenth century only six cases 
on a large scale and all due to Moslem Albanians are recorded, 
but between the fall of Ali Pasha and 1878 there were twenty- 
one. In this period Greek and Vlach brigands played a 
prominent part, especially Zhakas, and according to Aravan- 
dinos whose accounts are fully confirmed by local tradition, 
the christian bands surpassed the Moslem in their fiendish 
cruelty. One reason for the increase of these raids was the 
existence in the neighbourhood of a political frontier after 
the freedom of Greece. A frontier is in fact a necessity for 
brigandage on a large scale ; during the winter the bands 
live in peace ; in the summer they cross the frontier and return 
in the autumn with their plunder and perhaps with prisoners 
for ransom. This well known system has continued up to 
the present day and a brigand on one side of the frontier was a 
national hero the other, as in the cases of the brothers Skumbra 
and of DaveHs. Between 1878 and 1883 brigandage as the 
aftermath of the rising of 1878 seems to have been incessant. 
In these five years £T6o,ooo were levied from the Zaghori, 


out of which Baieasa paid two thousand pounds. Whole 
villages were sacked and many of the deeds done cannot be 
described here. Among the more notorious leaders were 
Davelis, Leonidha of Samarina whose exploit at Baieasa has 
been referred to above, Manekas a Bulgarian, Gika an Albanian, 
the brothers Garelia of Briaza, Ghushu al Dhispuli of Samarina 
and Takos from Eurytania, and they on several occasions are 
said to have disregarded the rules of the code of klephtic 
honour. The system of ransom usually respected was often 
abused. One band seized a newly married couple, who thus 
spent their short honeymoon with the brigands. The bride- 
groom was ransomed and released ; then a ransom was de- 
manded for the bride which was duly paid. But the brigands 
killed her and returned her dead body to the expectant bride- 
groom. Boiling oil and the practice of toasting women in 
ovens were among the methods employed for extorting money. 
Davelis whom we have met at his Thessalian home, where 
he ranks as a national hero, has the worst local reputation. 
Takos of Eurytania retired to his native land in Greece, but 
could not discontinue his habits and attracted the attention 
of the government. However he was protected by a fellow 
countryman then minister of justice. In 1883 after strenuous 
efforts on the part of the Turkish authorities this carnival 
of brigandage ceased and since then similar atrocities have 
not been committed, although brigandage on a small scale has 
continued and children have from time to time been seized 
and held for ransom. On the top of the steep and wooded 
ridge opposite Baieasa on the west bank of the river is a spot 
known as La Fezlu, where is the grave of a Turkish officer 
who was killed in the pursuit of the brigands. His death is 
celebrated in the following Vlach song : — 

Has not Filureaoa satisfied you, Turk, Warden of the Passes ? 
Have not the Hashia satisfied you, that you liave gone out by night 
on the mountains up to the Vlach viUages and that you were going to 
Tsherneshi to the Vlach huts ? And the shepherds were saying to 
you and the shepherds tell you, " To Baieasa Turk do not go, do not 
go to Baieasa for there all the brigands are assembled, for there are all 
the capitans. There is the dog Gika, and Ghushu al Dhispuli, Ghushu 
al Dhispuli the old man, the one with the long beard, there is Capitan 


Makri, Makri the Perivoliat, and Turk, there are the Garelia's, the 
brothers Garelia of Briaza." The Turk he would not hear, the Turk 
he would not listen. The Turk fought at Baieasa with those Vlach 
brigands and the famous Turk was killed, the poor fellow was killed. 

Apart from acts of brigandage Baieasa suffered on other 
occasions. In 1814 it was plundered by the orders of Ali 
Pasha and in 1829 during the Greek revolution was sacked 
by the Turks. In consequence of this the inhabitants left 
their home and took refuge in Greece at Vudhonitsa near 
Thermopylae, but the natural attraction of the mountains for 
the Vlachs made them come back in 1835. But one result of 
its past history and sufferings is that from time to time, especi- 
ally at the beginning of the eighteenth century, many families 
left the village and wandered forth to find fresh homes else- 
where. Most of them went to Western Thrace, where they 
settled in Seres itself, at Dzhumaia which has three hundred 
families from Baieasa, Poroi, Nigrita, Melenik, Nevrekop and 
at Peshtera on Rhodope. In recent years emigration to 
America has robbed the village of the young men. 

Few if any villages in Pindus have a more beautiful situa- 
tion than Baieasa. The river already a considerable stream, 
which is not easy to ford in summer and in winter is a raging 
torrent, divides the village into two parts, joined by a bridge 
of the usual Turkish type, a high narrow arch with low parapets 
so that loaded mules can pass with ease (Plate XXII i). 
The houses in the village are usually several stories high and 
carefully built for defence with few or no windows on the 
ground floor. The main part of the village is on the east 
bank of the river and the bridge mentioned affords the sole 
means of access to it. In the small quarter on the west bank 
the church of St Athanasius stands close to the bridge head 
which it serves to guard, for it is built entirely of stone with 
a solid domed roof and loopholed. All the inhabitants are 
Vlachs, but the men know Greek. There is a Greek school 
and a Roumanian, though the building was destroyed by a 
Greek band in 1905 and has not since been rebuilt. The 
chief trade is in timber, for Baieasa boasts that it possesses 
more saw mills than any other Vlach village. The other 





common Vlach trades of sheep rearing, wool working and 
muleteering are also practised, but none to any very great 
extent, for many of the muleteers employed in carrying Baieasa 
timber to Yannina are Samariniats. The costume originally 
worn was very similar to that at Samarina ; but this is now 
mostly replaced by European or rather a la Franca coats 
and trousers. Many of the Zaghori villages, Vlach and Greek 
alike, wear a costume like that in vogue in Epirus with white 
stockings and short blue trousers. This though a native 
costume seems to be an innovation in the Vlach villages, and 
is perhaps due to the influence of Ayios Kosmas. 

The great feature of Baieasa which distinguishes it from all 
its neighbours is the possession of a wooden clock made on a 
novel plan by a native who died only recently at a great age 
and has already become the centre of a group of legends. 
Apparently quite unlettered he devised a number of mechanical 
improvements chiefly connected with water mills and smithies. 
Stories are told of his wonderful power of making calculations 
in his head which even the European enquirer could only 
do on paper. Locally he was regarded as being almost un- 
canny. Examples of unusual ability are often found among 
the Balkan villagers quite irrespective of race, but the faculty 
for invention other than verbal, is exceedingly rare. Imple- 
ments and tools of everyday use even among the Greeks — 
the sharpest -witted in a way of the Balkan peoples — are of a 
primitive type or else copies of European models. 

Three hours north-west of Baieasa — the first half up a 
hilly slope and the second a gradual descent along a narrow, 
but fertile valley — brought us to Laka or Laista as the Greeks 
call it. An hour and a half farther north on a bluff between 
the Aous and one of its tributaries is Paliohori. Both are 
Vlach villages and have had a typical history similar to that 
of other Zaghori villages. Laka was in Leake's day one of 
the most prosperous, but since then it has suffered much 
from brigandage and the lack of security. Most of its four 
hundred houses are stfll in good repair and it has a good Greek 
school and a well-paved misohori shaded by a large plane tree. 
Trade however is bad, the fields and vineyards are not sufficient 


to support the population and most have to emigrate. Emi- 
gration has for many years been the main support of the 
villages of the Zaghori, Greek and Vlach alike. The men 
often go to work in Constantinople or at Drama, Kavala or 
other towns of the Thracian littoral, but the majority have 
in times past gone to seek their fortunes in Roumania especially 
the Greeks. In some villages to-day there is hardly an able- 
bodied man to be seen, for all have gone abroad to make 
money. It was quite a common thing for a young couple to 
marry, and then for the bridegroom to go off to try his luck 
in foreign parts. He might never return, or he might come 
back after many years to a wife who had almost forgotten 
him and to a child he had never seen. In the folk-songs of 
the Zaghori there are a great number which refer to this state 
of affairs. Many of them are in the form of laments by brides 
or deserted sweethearts invoking curses on Roumania for 
detaining their men. To-day the same class of song continues, 
but with the substitution of America for Roumania. Laka 
if asked would declare itself to be of pure Hellenic stock, but 
in private all its inhabitants talk Vlach glibly. We were told 
with pride that the women all know Greek, which probably 
means that some still know only Vlach. The knowledge of 
Vlach songs was also denied, but one which was recited to us 
is given on a later page. Paliohori which claims to be the 
mother village of Laka — a claim that Laka disputes — was 
sacked by Leonidha and Davelis and has never recovered. 
Most of its houses are in ruins and the twenty-five that stand 
are not in good condition ; the fields are neglected and its 
few inhabitants poverty-stricken. It is less hellenized than 
Laka, for some of the inhabitants display an affection for their 
mother tongue. Here an older type of costume is preserved 
especially amongst the women, which resembles that of Laka 
illustrated by Weigand. 

An hour and a half west of Paliohori and close under the 
precipices of the highest part of Papifigu which is here known 
as Gamila, Mount Camel, is Dobrinovo, a village in size and 
appearance very similar to Laka. The whole village talks 
Vlach as its native tongue, but our enquiries into its history 


and dialect did not meet with approval. North of Dobrinovo 
is the last Vlach village of the Zaghori, Leshnitsa, a small 
village, but outwardly more prosperous than either Laka or 
Dobrinovo. By race and language it is Vlach, but in politics 
and religion Greek. 

It will be seen that of the Vlach villages in the Zaghori 
we can speak of five only from our own personal knowledge, 
Baieasa, Laka, Paliohori, Dobrinovo, and Leshnitsa. All these 
are entirely Vlach by race and in all of them Vlach is the mother 
tongue, yet in four cases out of the five the great majority 
of the people are Greek in feehng. Corresponding with this 
political division is a division in the mode of life. The most 
hellenized villages are those that have been agricultural or 
non-nomadic for a long time. Baieasa on the other hand to 
judge by its history has not long ceased to be nomadic and from 
its timber trade and muleteering has remained more typically 
Vlach. Generally this distinction holds good in the southern 
part of Pindus too, the hill villages which depend on trade and 
muleteering, two professions more closely connected in the 
past than now, retain their sense of nationality and even when 
hellenized still consider themselves Vlachs. The agricultural 
villages on the other hand tend to deny any Vlach origin at 
all. The fundamental cause is historical and religious and 
goes back far beyond any modern political propaganda. The 
agricultural villages have always had a precarious existence, 
and oppression from their rulers and their fellow-countrymen 
has reduced the sense of independence to a very low ebb. 
They have also intermarried more freely with the Greek, 
Albanian or Bulgarian villages round them. The hill villages 
such as Samarina or Avdhcla are proud of their nationality 
and their independence, and rarely marry outside their own 
special group. If they do marry outside it is the men who do 
so, and then usually for the sake of the cash dowry which the 
Greeks give, but Vlachs do not. Such men after marriage 
settle in the plains and towns, and so in the hill villages them- 
selves there is little or no intermixture of Greek blood. 

To the north of Aous, high up on the slopes of Zmolku and 
so overlooking the Zaghori is a line of Vlach villages, Palioseli, 


Padza, and Armata. These all stand on a track that leads 
from Konitsa along the south side of Zmolku and over Ghiimara 
by way of Briaza and Smiksi to Ghrevena. Though now of 
little importance this track in places shews signs of having 
once been cobbled and so was probably in earlier times a much 
used through route. Of the first two villages Palioseli and 
Padza which both contain over two hundred houses we can 
say little, for we arrived at an ill-omened hour when the annual 
examination at the Greek school was taking place. Both 
villages were eager to prove their pure Hellenic origin, and so 
all our enquiries about their history and dialect were out of 
place. They are both Vlach by race and language and re- 
semble Laka and Dobrinovo in many ways. Neither of them 
seems particularly flourishing, as trade is bad in consequence 
of brigandage ; they are agricultural and so mainly supported 
by the men who all go abroad to make money. 

From the track between Palioseli and Padza a wonderful 
view can be obtained. Behind us to the north is the triple 
mass of Zmolku, the highest peak of Pindus ; in front and 
immediately below us is the Aous hurrying down to the 
Adriatic ; beyond to the south is the Zaghori which from here 
seems to consist of parallel ranges of hills running north and 
south. On the east rise the lower peaks of Pindus, Ghumara, 
Vasilitsa and Ou with their lower slopes covered with thick 
pine woods. In strong contrast to the gravelly hills of the 
Zaghori and the woods of Pindus is the western boundary 
with the bare and craggy sierra of Papingu which rises in 
height towards the north where it ends in a vast wall of lime- 
stone cliffs. Between this and the southwestern end of Zmolku 
is a narrow, deep and precipitous cafion through which the Aous 
forces its way into the plain of Konitsa. 

The position of Papingu and Zmolku frowning at one an- 
other across the Aous has caused the Vlachs to locahse here a 
folktale of which many versions are found in the Balkans 
and particularly amongst the Vlachs. It probably belongs to 
the class of tales that are native to a district rather than to 
any one race. In Vlach folklore the mountain personified 
as a demon plays a leading part, and this is especially true of 


any mountain that has a small lake near its summit. It is in 
this lake that the demon has his home and in Vlach folklore 
as a rule he was originally a shepherd who being crossed in love 
drowned himself and his flock. On Zmolku there is such a 
lake known as the Laku Vinitu, the Blue Pool, and this is 
inhabited by an evil spirit who was in earlier life a shepherd 
broken-hearted through unrequited love. The tale referring 
to Zmolku and Papingu says that the demons of these two 
mountains fought by hurling great rocks at each other, a 
veritable war of giants. Eventually the demon of Zmolku 
conquered by a trick worthy of Odysseus. Each demon would 
catch in his mouth the boulders the other hurled, and swallow 
them like peas. The demon of Zmolku, deceitful like all 
Samariniats, compounded boulders of salt, and so made his 
adversary terribly thirsty. The demon of Papiflgu lay down 
to drink, and drank and drank and drank till he burst. Thus 
they explain the presence of white boulders round the Lakil 
Vinitu, because though there is no white stone on Zmolku, 
there is on Papiiigu, and so these white stones are some of those 
which the demon of Papingu hurled across at his enemy. 

Of the past history of the three Vlach villages north of the 
Aous we must plead complete ignorance. Lambridhis seems 
to imply that they produced their full quota of brigands, but 
latterly they have been more sinned against than sinning, 
Armata the last of the three a poor hamlet of less than a hun- 
dred houses is connected with the monastery of Samarina 
which owns land, especially vineyards, in the village. Locally 
it is famous for the mythical beauty of its maidens. It is 
mainly an agricultural village, does little trade and anyone, 
who can, leaves it. We have met men of Armata settled at 
Verria and others who have made money in America. Under 
a good government and with security it might prosper, but the 
men and women of Armata who live there will always have to 
wring a hard living from the ungrateful soil by the sweat of 
their brows. 

The last Vlach village on Pindus to the south of Samarina 
is Briaza, which lies on the east bank of the Aous at the point 
where the river flowing north from Baieasa turns westwards 


to Konitsa. The country round is well wooded and the village 
lies in the midst of vineyards and cherry orchards. It is mainly 
agricultural, though there are several saw mills and its people 
are noted for the excellence of the pitch they make. Despite 
apparent natural advantages Briaza is at a low ebb, and in 
prosperity must rank with Padza, Palioseli and the Zaghori 
villages generally rather than with Samarina or Perivoli. 
Much of its present state is due to lack of public safety, for it 
has suffered both recently and in the past from bands political 
and otherwise. Lambridhis describes it as a shameless nest of 
robbers and names a certain Efthimiu who flourished about 
1837 as the most notorious offender. There are two schools 
in the village, Greek and Roumanian, and no friction exists 
between them as long as they are left to themselves. This 
is the case in most villages and most of the Macedonian feuds 
about religion and education have been organised from outside. 
Vlach is the tongue commonly spoken and some of the women 
know no other. A costume similar to that of Samarina except 
in detail is still worn, but is rapidly being given up for European 

A short three hours north of Samarina is the Vlach village 
of Furka. The road to it leaves Samarina by the place called 
Mermishaklu and thence follows up the river of Samarina to 
its source on the ridge known as La Greklu. This is covered 
with thick beech woods where the Samarina folk come to cut 
fuel, and owing to the woods and the narrowness and diffi- 
culty of the road on the summit it has always been a favourite 
place for brigands to hold up caravans of Samarina muleteers 
on the way from Yannina. A little beyond the spring called 
La Greklu the Yannina road goes straight down the valley 
of a small stream through pleasant upland meadows to Kera- 
sova. They say that the spring owes its name to a Greek, 
who was in bad health and came up to Samarina for the summer 
to be cured by its fine climate and good water. After a few 
days he was so much better that he could venture a walk as 
far as this spring. He drank of its water, reputed to be the 
coldest on Zmolku, and at once dropped down dead. Baieasa 
has a similar tale and the Vlachs are never tired of telling such 


stories about the excellence and coldness of their mountain 
springs. From La Greklu the path to Furka bears away to 
the north following the top of a low line of hills on which the 
village stands. Unhke Samarina Furka is not a nomad vil- 
lage, for its inhabitants, at least the womenfolk, stay there all 
the year. In days gone by it supported itself by sheep rearing 
and agriculture. To-day agriculture is still carried on, but in 
a feeble manner ; and the numbers of its flocks have declined. 
The troubles of 1878 affected Furka shepherds very severely, 
and, though the majority of the resident men make their 
living by sheep, yet the village as a whole lives on money 
from abroad. All the able-bodied young men are in America 
or elsewhere making money to support parents and sisters or 
wives and children. Brigandage as elsewhere has been the 
curse of the village and the tall tower-like houses of the big 
shepherd families still standing are silent witnesses to the 
fact that in Furka no man of means was safe unless his house 
was his castle. A few years ago too political bands troubled 
them, and the small Roumanian party was extinguished. In 
costume the people resemble Samarina very closely and with 
Furka the Samariniats have more intercourse than with any 
other village except Smiksi. They will give their daughters 
in marriage to Furka, an honour which they rarely or never do 
to any other village. Perhaps it hardly deserves this honour, 
for its houses, not two hundred in number, are mean and dirty, 
and this collection of ruinous dwellings makes a very poor 
appearance on the top of a treeless, windswept slope. Of its 
history we know little. It once had over three thousand in- 
habitants, but fell into the hands of AH Pasha as a chiftlik. 
In consequence of their sufferings the people began to emigrate, 
and all were about to go forth in a body to find a new home, 
when the Turkish government intervened and forbade emi- 
gration fearing the country would be depopulated. 


'Hfifls ol BXdxoi OTTO)? Xaxj]- 

We Vlachs are the Children of Chance. 

Greek Proverb 

BESIDE the Vlachs in the northern part of Pindus 
who have ah'eady been described, there are numerous 
other groups in various parts of the Balkan peninsula, 
which can often be distinguished by differences in dialect and 
in some instances by a difference in costume. The members 
of some of these isolated groups are often known collectively 
by certain names ; for example all who live in the villages on 
Mount Gramos are called Gramosteani, the Vlachs of Albania 
also are known as Farsherots or by the Greeks as Arvanito- 
vlakhi, Albanian Vlachs. These names which are for the 
most part geographical, have remained unchanged by migra- 
tions and so denote the place of origin which is often not the 
present place of residence. The Farsherots, who have wandered 
more than most, are often to be found far away from the 
borders of Albania. The chief Vlach districts to-day are 
distributed as follows. 

In Acarnania there is a group of six Farsherot villages 
which are fully inhabited during the winter ; in the summer 
the people go up into the southern part of Pindus with their 
flocks. The largest village which according to Weigand has 
about seven hundred and fifty inhabitants is Kutsobina, but 
the best known and most accessible is the hamlet of Suroveli 
which occupies part of the site of Stratos close to the Aspro- 
potamos. These Acarnanian Vlachs are by profession mostly 
shepherds and still live in groups of families under the 


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patriarchal rule of a head shepherd. In one case, where the 
head shepherd was dead, Weigand found them living under 
a matriarchy exercised by his widow. The chief point of 
interest about them is that excluding a few isolated families 
who have settled in the towns they mark the southern limit 
of the Vlach communities. It might be thought that since 
Acarnania was known in medieval times as Little Vlachia in 
contrast to Great Vlachia or Thessaly, that these Vlachs are 
the descendants of the medieval population. But this is not 
so, for Weigand has shown by the study of their language and 
folk songs that they are Farsherots and must have wandered 
south from Albania. Further Lambridhis records that they 
came from the village of Bitsikopulo in the district of Paleo- 
poghoni in Northern Epirus about the year 1840. 

Far to the north of Suroveli and about the sources of the 
Aspropotamos is another group of villages inhabited by 
Vlachs. These, the most southern of the Pindus Vlachs, are 
distinct in origin and dialect from their Farsherot kinsfolk 
lower down the river and are commonly known as the Aspro- 
potamos Vlachs. The villages actually situated in the Aspro- 
potamos valley are neither large nor numerous, but they 
join an extensive group that reaches northward to Metsovo 
and spreads widely to east and west over the higher slopes of 
Pindus. At present there seems to be no real distinction 
between the villages in the river valle}^ and those outside it, 
but it is not impossible that some distinction once existed. 
The name " Aspropotamite " is often used as if it denoted a 
definite class and Leake has recorded that for purposes of 
grazing there was a well-defined boundary between the Aspro- 
potamos valley and the pastures towards Yannina. Treating 
however the district as one, the chief villages are, in the valley 
itself Gardista or Gardhiki and Halik'i, the latter at the source 
of the river ; Kalarites or Kalarl'i and Siraku on a tributary 
of the river of Arta, and towards the Thessalian side Malakasi, 
Kastania and Kornu or in Greek Krania. Gardista and 
Halik'i are primarily shepherd villages and have little or no 
history, but Kalarites and Siraku have in their day been 
places of considerable importance. The position of the two 


villages is alone sufficiently striking to attract attention. 
They stand facing each other, one on either side of a narrow 
mountain valley in the midst of country as wild and desolate 
as any to be found in Greece ; their narrow streets are zigzag 
paths worn out of the hill side and the topmost houses in 
Kalarites rise several hundred feet above the lower quarters 
of the village. Leake and Pouqueville, who both travelled 
in this district in the early years of the nineteenth century, 
have left much valuable information as to its past history as 
well as its condition at that time. According to a tradition pre- 
valent in Kalarites at the time of Leake's visit, the Vlachs had 
only been settled in that part of Pindus up tothat time for a space 
of two hundred and fifty years. This if true would place the 
date of their first settlements in the sixteenth century. Since the 
adjacent country is not rich this date may perhaps be defended 
on the theory that they were not driven to live in the less fertile 
parts until after the Turkish conquest. On the other hand 
since it is known that Vlachs were at Metsovo, which is only a 
few hours off, at a considerably earlier date, it seems far 
more probable that this tradition only refers to the beginning 
of permanent villages. A local saying quoted by Leake gives 
an idea of the early state of the district : " Velitsa is a 
fortress, Matsuki a town, Kalarites an outlying quarter of the 
town and Siraku five houses." 

By the nineteenth century however this saying no longer 
held good ; Matsuki had only twenty-five houses and Siraku 
and Kalarites with five hundred houses each had a total popu- 
lation of some five or six thousand, besides several hundreds 
engaged in business elsewhere. This striking change, as in 
the case of Metsovo, was due to the rise of a large foreign 
trade which was mainly carried on through Yannina ; and 
as an example of commercial enterprise at this time it may be 
mentioned that merchants of Kalarites were employing Greek 
boats from Ghalaxidhi to ship their goods to avoid being 
dependent on foreign craft. Besides the advantages of a 
large trade Kalarites like many of the neighbouring villages 
was spared the extortions of a local governor by paying dues 
direct to the Valide Sultan. After 1800 however both these 


advantages soon disappeared, the trade failed and Ali Pasha 
of Yannina felt himself strong enough to extort money im- 
partially from all villages alike. The annual fees from 
Kalarites were gi^aduaUy increased from 14,000 up to 45,000 
piastres, and for permission to have church bells a sum of 
15,000 was exacted. At the independence of Greece several 
of the inhabitants moved into the new kingdom, and the 
population decreased. The new Graeco-Turkish frontier in 1881 
followed the line of the river and Kalarites became Greek, but 
Siraku remained Turkish. This caused a further decline in 
prosperity as it interfered with such trade as still remained. 
Many families from both villages have now settled in various 
towns in Greece, and have severed all connection with their 
former homes. The recent change in the frontier however 
may increase the prosperity of both villages. Zalakostas one 
of the best-known poets of ]\Iodern Greece was a native of 
Siraku. Malakasi, which is on the main route leading from 
Epirus into Thessaly, is perhaps one of the oldest of the Vlach 
villages on Pindus ; it occurs in the legend of the founding 
of Metsovo by Floka, and the Malakasians are mentioned 
several times in the Chronicle of Epirus. This need not 
however imply the existence of a proper village. As might 
be guessed from its position Malakasi has undergone experiences 
similar to Kalarites, but always on a smaller scale. Pouque- 
ville estimates its population at about five hundred families, 
but in recent years it has sunk to nearly half that number. 
Kastania and Kornu are largely shepherd villages, and like 
all in the hill districts near the frontier have had ample ex- 
perience of brigandage. 

In the Thessalian plains there are large Vlach colonies in 
many of the towns and villages, but only a few small hamlets 
in which the population is exclusively Vlach. All the Vlachs 
in the Thessalian plains, whether now permanently settled or 
not, seem to have been until recent times only winter visitants ; 
most come from Samarina, Avdhela, Perivoli and the other 
villages on Northern Pindus and so need no further description. 
In Southern Thessaly however in Almiros and in a few hamlets 
not far away the Vlachs are Farsherots. Their home village 


is Pleasa, and until 1881 when the frontier was changed most 
used to return there each summer, but after that date some 
settled permanently in Thessah' and others found new winter 
quarters farther north at Vlakhoyianni. 

To the north of Thessaly and in what was till recently 
Turkish territory, the next Vlach district is on the slopes of 
Mt. Olympus. Here there are three villages Vlaho-Livadhi, 
Kokinoplo and Fteri. Vlaho-Livadhi the largest, though half 
its former size, has still in summer some three thousand 
inhabitants. The Olympus Vlachs, as their dialect shows, 
have mixed with Greeks for longer than most of the Vlachs on 
Pindus ; many have left their mountain homes and have 
settled in Elassona, Katerini and Serfije ; others have moved 
northwards to Salonica and in fact of the Hellenic population 
in Salonica to-day many in origin are from the Vlach villages 
on Olympus. 

To the north of the Haliakmon and on the hills that form 
the watershed between it and Lake Ostrovo are two separate 
groups of Vlachs ; one in the east around Verria and one to 
west that includes Vlaho-Klisura on the hills to the east of 
Kastoria. To the north of this second group is a third con- 
taining Neveska, Belkamen, and Pisoderi. 

It has already been noticed in connection with Avdhela 
and Samarina that early in the nineteenth century a number 
of Avdheliats led by Badraleksi abandoned their homes on 
Pindus and settled on the hills by Verria (Plate XXIII). 
They were joined by detachments from Perivoli and Samarina, 
especially by the Bdtutsi from the latter village and their 
numbers were increased by a small band of Farsherots. This 
movement was the beginning of all the Vlach settlements in 
the hill district south of Verria, where the chief villages are 
Sella and Ksirolivadi. Sella is divided into an upper village, 
which is the Farsherot settlement, and a lower one the site of 
Badraleksi's original encampment. This and the fact that 
the village is still rented as a chiftlik and is not freehold 
are obvious indications that the Vlachs are newcomers to the 
hills of this region. They say that Sella was first colonised 
in 1815, but that in 1821 the upper village was sacked and 



thereupon the Samarina families migrated to Niausta. Ksiro- 
livadi, unhke Sella, is an old inhabited site, though it is com- 
paratively recent as a Vlach village. Formerly it was in- 
habited by Greeks who grew flax and r\^e, but about 1819 it was 
totally destroyed in a raid of Albanians or Turks. This date, 
which we were given in the village, may be too late, since 
none of the tombstones in the old Greek churchyard bear 
a later date than 1780. At all events its position on the old 
paved Turkish high road from Verria to Kozhani and Yannina 
must have rendered it very accessible to marauders. The 
present village is also rented by its Vlach inhabitants as a 
chiftlik and like Sella is inhabited only in the summer. A 
third village Doliani is more recent than either and was started 
by a number of nationalist Vlachs not so long ago as a per- 
manent village to avoid intercourse with Hellenism and Greek 
education. They first purchased the land which was a chiftlik 
and then procured an architect to draw up plans for a model 
village. A large school has been built and a church, and the 
land of the village site divided into plots each large enough 
for a house and a small garden. The village lives by sheep 
rearing, timber cutting and agriculture, for which Turks from 
the Koniari villages in the plains of Kozhani and Kailar were 
being employed. All the land belongs to the community 
which receives the rent for pasture and arable land and lets 
out the right of cutting timber. When the timber in one 
area has been cut, the community takes care that it shall 
be replanted or else shut up and the trees allowed to grow 
again naturally. Thus the village was gradually forming a 
fund for its own general purposes aided hy gifts of money 
from natives working in America. They were thinking, if 
their scheme succeeded, of buying yet another chiftlik and 
founding a similar Vlach colony. In addition to this the 
community was hoping that some day it would be able to 
maintain its school and church by itself without any help 
from the Roumanian propaganda. The only condition laid 
down for an inhabitant of the village was that he should be 
a Vlach of the right political faith. By 191 1 the village had 
made an excellent start and was increasing in size and pros- 


perity, but its future is now most problematical. But, what- 
ever happens, it has the unique distinction of having been 
designed according to a plan and on a kind of communistic 
scheme. The only other Vlach village in these hills is 
Gramatikova which is a Farsherot settlement. Verria itself 
besides being the winter home of most of the Vlachs of Sella 
and Ksirolivadi, has a sir.all permanent Vlach population 
mainly engaged in trade especially in the merchanting of 
the cheeses made in the hill villages. Besides Vlachs the 
town contains a large Greek population, a ghetto of Spanish 
Jews (Plate XXH 2), many Turks and some Bulgarians. Its 
chief feature is perhaps its excessive number of churches of 
which there are said to be seventy-two. Many of the smaller 
houses are grouped together in walled compounds, in most 
of which there is a small church. It is in these compounds 
that the nomad Vlach famihes from Sella and Ksirolivadi 
spend the winter, hiring them en bloc from the Turkish 

To the west of the hills of Verria and beyond the plain of 
Kailar we come to another big range of hills which gives 
shelter to several Vlach villages. These which we may call 
the Klisura group lie on the ethnological boundary of Greek 
and Bulgarian. This group contains four villages, Klisura or 
Vlaho-Klisura, Blatsa, Pipilishte and Shishani, and in addition 
there are several Vlach families at Selitsa and in the town of 
Shatishta which contains many Samariniats. Shishani and 
Blatsa are now almost entirely hellenized and both these 
villages seem from the first to have been partly Greek. Pipil- 
ishte is said to be purely Vlach, but in politics is Greek. 
Shishani, though now small, must once have been an im- 
portant place because the full title of the Bishop of Shatishta 
is " His Holiness of Shishani and Shatishta." At present 
Klisura with some three thousand inhabitants has been for 
a long time the largest purely Vlach village in this district. 
It stands perched on the steep hill side at the top of the pass 
on the high road from Kailar to Kastoria. The road is one 
of the best in Macedonia and this is of great importance for 
Klisura which makes its livelihood mainly by trade. The 


houses are large and indicate considerable prosperity in the 
past, though as usual there has been a decline in recent years. 
There is another group round Neveska a large and prosperous 
Vlach village four hours north of Klisura and situated at a 
higher elevation and commanding a more extensive view. 
The position of Neveska (Plate XXIV) amongst the mountain 
meadows and woods coupled with its magnificent outlook 
over the plains of Kailar and Monastir with their lakes has 
a wide reputation and is popularly supposed to rank second 
to Samarina alone. The inhabitants of this group of villages 
are not nomadic, although many go abroad to make their 
fortunes as merchants in Egypt and Servia. The houses 
though large and roomy are built more closely together, and 
gardens are not as common as in the Pindus villages. In 
the better houses in both Klisura and Neveska a curious 
local method of wall decoration can be seen. The upper 
part of the walls, which are as a rule covered with plain white- 
wash, are ornamented with a frieze of Greek gods and god- 
desses about three feet high painted in monochrome blue. 
The designs and execution are rude and of no artistic merit, 
but merely interesting. North of Neveska lie three more 
villages Pisoderi, Belkamen and Negovani which have all 
been settled in the last hundred years by Farsherots. Only 
the first is purely Vlach, for the others also contain a con- 
siderable Albanian population. 

To the west of these again and beyond the upper waters 
of the Haliakmon come the villages of northern Pindus between 
Samarina and Metsovo and the Zaghori which have been 
described in a previous chapter. But at the extreme northern 
end of Pindus there are a few Vlach villages on the slopes of 
Mount Gramos which lie near the point where the ethnographic 
boundaries between Greeks, Bulgarians and Albanians meet. 
The most important of these are Gramosti and Densko which 
is about six hours north of Furka. These villages are mainly 
inhabited by shepherds and muleteers and also do some trade 
in timber. They are nomadic and many of them spend the 
winter at Hrupishta. With them we might group the villages 
like Nikolitsa and Linotopi which are no longer inhabited by 


Vlachs. They were however in the eighteenth century before 
their ruin at the hands of the Albanians very flourishing and 
widely famous. Their inhabitants are now scattered far and 
wide ; for instance there are Gramosteani to be found amongst 
the glens of Rhodope in Thrace and families from Densko 
may be met at Aliphaklar in the plain of A3da in Thessaly. 
Adjoining the Gramos group to the north comes another block 
of Vlachs who centre about the large Albanian town of Kortsha. 
This block falls into two divisions. One lies to the east of 
Kortsha and contains the villages such as Pleasa, Morava and 
Stropan mainly inhabited by Farsherots who are shepherds 
and muleteers, and in addition the few families settled in the 
mixed Bulgar- Albanian town of Biklishta. These Farsherots 
are apparently newcomers and do not seem to have been settled 
in this district for more than two hundred years. Still as we 
have seen Pleasa itself has sent forth colonies, as instanced 
by the Pleasa Farsherots at Almiros in South Thessaly. This 
shows how ineradicable the spirit of wandering is in the Vlachs. 
In Kortsha itself there is a considerable Vlach colony mainly 
composed of Farsherots from Pleasa and its neighbourhood, but 
there are several families from Muskopol'e who are very much 
under Greek influence and a few from the Gramos district. The 
other division of the Vlachs in this region lies about Muskopol'e 
and Shipiska which in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries 
were large and flourishing towns. Of the two Muskopol'e, the 
Plain of Musk, was the larger and the most renowned, for it was 
the great commercial centre for Central Albania and Upper 
Macedonia and its merchants had branch houses in Venice, 
Vienna and Buda-Pest, and like their kinsfolk beyond the 
Danube frequented the great fair of Leipzig. The wealthy 
Greek colony in Vienna was largely composed of Vlachs from 
Muskopol'e and elsewhere, for example Leake remarks that at 
Shatishta and Selitsa German was commonly known because 
of trade connections. Locally it is believed that the town once 
contained eight or ten thousand houses and a population of 
about sixty thousand souls. These figures Weigand is inclined 
to credit, but Leake was more sceptical. As the traveller 
to-day can see from the extensive ruins amidst the meadows 


that surround the present village on all sides it was once much 
larger and in size easily surpassed any other Vlach town. So 
if we assume that the local estimates of its former population 
are thrice as great as they should be, we can put its inhabitants 
at twenty thousand without any danger of being unduly 
credulous. Leake who passed through the place in 1805 says 
its prosperity which was at its height about a hundred years 
before, had then been declining for the last seventy years. 
This statement seems to be on the whole correct. MuskopoFe 
possesses many churches most of which now stand isolated 
among the stone strewn hayfields that once were busy 
parishes, and on the slope of the hills about half an hour to the 
north lies the monastery of Muskopol'e dedicated to St John 
the Baptist. The monastery church was built in 1632 and 
the majority of the churches in the town date between 1700 
and 1760. So if the building of churches is a sign of prosperity 
then Muskopofe flourished most between 1650 and 17.50. 
In the monastery there is a historical note book, locally 
known as a codex. It was begun in 1773, and written in 
the same hand as this date are notes of various events 
from the great rain of ash all over Rumeli in 1631 down 
to 1754. The unknown historian dates the flourishing period 
of Muskopol'e to the seventeenth century, and then gives 
several rescripts relating to the monastery issued by the 
Patriarchs of Achrida Ignatios, Gregory, Raphael, and 
Phflotheos between 1693 and 1718. The latest patriarch 
mentioned is Joseph (1746-1749). The next date is 1780 
and by a different hand, and on the flyleaf is written in an 
attempt at classical Greek, " Muskopol'e, Muskopol'e, where 
is thy beauty ? Where is the fair form that thou hadst in 
the seventeenth century ? The most accursed of men have 
wrought my destruction. May the Lord give thee back 
thy former beauty through the intercession of the Holy 

These dates all agree with tradition which places the first 
sack of Muskopol'e by Albanians in 1769 and the second in 
1788. Finally the harsh rule of Ali Pasha brought about its 
complete ruin and its inhabitants were dispersed throughout 


the Balkans. To-day it is a small village occup3dng the 
kernel of the old town and inhabited partly by Albanians 
and partly by Vlachs, some of whom are true natives and 
others Farsherots. Even in the days of its greatness there 
was probably a considerable Farsherot element in the popula- 
tion, which is recorded in local tradition and accepted by 
Weigand on philological grounds. The Geography of the 
Thessalian monks Daniel and Gregory published at Vienna 
in 1791 says that it had much wealth, twelve kinds of trades, 
a good and famous school, a printing press and was in a word 
adorned with all the beauties of a European cit}^ The 
printing press was managed by a monk called Gregory who 
published religious books, of which ten are known, and was 
renowned as one of the earliest presses in European Turkey. 
To-day no sign of the press, either of type or machinery 
survives, and it might reasonably be doubted whether the 
press ever existed there at all, since no European traveller 
ever saw it, for it is possible that the books were printed in 
Constantinople, Venice, Vienna or some similar place for 
Muskopore. Local tradition is not always to be trusted 
and the point can only be decided by an examination of all 
the books bearing the imprint Muskopol'e. But the town 
was justly famous as a seat of Greek learning and education, 
loasaph a well known patriarch of Achrida, to whom the 
wealthy Vlach merchants gave the golden mitre made in 
Venice and now preserved in the Cathedral of St Clement 
at Okhridha, was a native of the town, and so also Kavalliotis, 
Daniel, and Boyadzhi who compiled Vlach and Albanian 
lexicons and grammars to further the spread of Hellenism. 

The history of Shipiska is in every respect similar to that 
of its neighbour Muskopol'e. These two towns with Nikolitsa 
and Linotopi were companions in prosperity and in misfortune, 
and one may safely say that no Vlach villages ever before or 
since have reached such a pitch of material greatness. Their 
wealth and fame are known all over the Balkans, and their 
ruin is proverbial, for Vlach songs still tell how neither their 
riches nor their education could save them from the Albanians 
when they marched to set their foot upon them. 



To the north of the plain of Kortsha is the well known 
town of Okhridha, to use the Greek name, built on a rocky 
peninsula jutting out into the north-east corner of the lake 
of the same name. The lake is renowned through the whole 
region ; local statisticians say it is twenty hours in circum- 
ference, over two hundred metres deep and possesses eighteen 
kinds of fish of which the salmon trout are known throughout 
Macedonia. In too the country produces three kinds 
of cherries, yellow, red and black, the last being most excellent. 
All round the lake stand steep limestone mountains and 
these naturally are the haunts of Vlachs. Hidden among the 
wild Albanian mountains to the south-west of the lake is a 
small group of Vlach villages of which Lunka and Grabovo 
are the largest. To-day they are very small and miserable, 
but in days gone by were much larger till they fell under 
the same curse as Muskopol'e, and so their inhabitants are 
to be found almost everywhere, but at home. At the north 
end of the lake where the Black Drin starts on its course to 
the Adriatic in Struga and Beala are Vlach colonies principally 
composed of Farsherots living amongst Albanians and Bulgars. 
In Okhridha too there is a large Vlach element all of whom 
with the exception of two families are said to be nationalists. 
The Okhridha Vlachs came from Lunka, Nikolitsa and 
Linotopi at the time of their ruin, and now many of them 
have wandered still further afield and their places in the 
Vlach colony have been filled by Farsherots. To the east 
of Okhridha on the hills that cut it off from Resna and the 
basin of Lake Presba is Istok where the Perivoliats of Toivash 
and Suphlari have their summer homes. Near them on the 
same hills is a large Farsherot colon}'^ at the village of Ilino. 
In Resna itself there are a hundred or more Vlach families 
from Muskopore and in the neighbouring village of Yankovets 
are forty more ; all these came after the destruction of their 
mountain home. About the neighbourhood too there are 
small colonies of Farsherots to be found as for instance at 
Levareka a little to the north. But like Okhridha the 
population of Resna is overwhelmingly Bulgarian with a 
certain Turkish and Albanian element. 


East of Resna and between it and Monastir, which the 
Vlachs call Bitule, lies another large group of Vlach villages to 
which we may add Krushevo and the Vlach colony in Monastir. 
This group can be divided into two, one containing the two 
westernmost villages of Molovishte and Gopesh, and the other 
Magarova, Tarnova, Nizhopoli, Krushevo and Monastir. The 
latter may be dealt with first. Magarova, Tarnova and Niz- 
hopoli are pure Vlach villages with very few Bulgarian or 
Albanian families living among them. They are all three of 
quite modern origin for their first Inhabitants were refugees 
from Gramosti, Muskopol'e, Linotopi, Nikolitsa, and Biskuki, 
and in Nizhopoli are some Farsherots. Since each family still 
remembers from what village their ancestors came it is clear 
that these Vlach colonies are not much over a century old. It 
is the same with Krushevo which was at first a purely Vlach 
town founded by refugees from Metsovo, Linotopi, and Niko- 
litsa who bought a small chiftlik and by their industry and 
keenness in trade have made it a large town. To-day there is a 
considerable Bulgar element in its population and in consequence 
it suffered in the rising of 1903. It is also the seat of the Greek 
bishop of Okhridha and Presba, who now that his proper diocese 
has almost entirely gone over to the Exarchate, resides here 
among the hellenist Vlachs. Similarly the Vlachs of Monastir 
are descendants of former inhabitants of Muskopol'e, Linotopi 
and Nikolitsa who fled east to escape the Albanian terror. They 
are no inconsiderable part of the population of Monastir, and 
form with patriarchist Bulgars and Albanians the main strength 
of the Greek party for pure Greeks are few and far between. 
Monastir also contains a large colony of Spanish Jews, and a 
considerable number of Albanians and Turks. If the Albanians 
are Mohammedans it is very difficult to separate them, for 
the Turk like the Greek always confuses religion and nationality. 

In contrast to this division of the Vlach inhabitants of the 
district are the villages of Molovishte and Gopesh. The latter 
is perched in a fine open situation on a wooded hill side on the 
route of the old road from Elbasan through Okhridha to 
Perlepe. Molovishte on the other hand is hidden in a ravine at 
the foot of Mount Peristeri. Both villages admit that they 


received detachments of refugees from Furka, Nikolitsa, 
Neveska and Muskopore, but both alike assert that they have 
been in existence for at least three hundred years. Molovishte 
says it was once lower do\vn the ravine near Kazhani on the 
Monastir-Okhridha road, and Gopesh believes that its first 
founders came from Nunte in the Meglen long before Muskopol'e 
suffered for its pride. The dialect spoken by them confirms in 
a way their traditions. Both villages have dialectic peculiari- 
ties which separate them from Magarova or Monastir and these 
peculiarities they share with the Meglen Vlachs. This does 
not necessarily mean that they have the same origin as the 
Meglen folk, though this is possible. The Meglen villages 
have some linguistic traits in common with the Roumanians 
from beyond the Danube and like them have come more in 
contact with Slavs. On the other hand the Vlachs of Pindus 
and the south live on the borders of three races, Albanians, 
Bulgars and Greeks, and so one would naturally expect the 
Slav influence on their pronunciation to be less strongly 
marked than in the case of the people of Gopesh, Molovishte 
or the Meglen who live as isolated units in a Slavonic sea. 
Thus the peculiarities of the dialect of these two villages may 
only indicate that they have occupied their present habitations 
for a very long time, and so naturally Slavonic influence has 
made itself felt, for the men in this region all talk Bulgarian 
as well as their mother tongue. All the Vlach villages just 
mentioned are now declining in numbers, for political troubles 
and the consequent injury to trade have made many emigrate 
to Bulgaria, America or elsewhere in search of work and a 
good livelihood. 

To the north and north-east of Monastir there are no purely 
Vlach villages, but every towii of importance such as Perlepe, 
Veles, Prizrend, Ipek, or Uskub contains a Vlach colony com- 
posed of immigrants from the west and south-west. 

To the north-west of Salonica and west of the town of 
G'evg'eli which is on the Salonica-Nish railway, the small hill 
district now known as the Meglen, but formerly called Mog- 
lenia, lies among the Karadhzova mountains, It divides into 


two halves, Bulgar-Meglen to the west, and Vlacho-Meglen to 
the east. The Meglen Vlachs are in several ways quite distinct 
from all others in the Balkans. They alone of all the Vlachs 
use the term Vlach of themselves or their language, for the 
others without exception call themselves by the proud name 
of Arumani or Romans. The dialect of the Meglen is so 
different that when first heard it is almost unintelligible ; 
some of them belong to the Moslem faith, and nearly all, 
unlike their kinsfolk of the south-west, are devoted to agri- 
culture and are not traders or craftsmen. The population of 
Vlacho-Meglen amounts to just over fourteen thousand, and 
is distributed among eleven villages of which L'umnitsa is the 
largest. The westernmost village Nunte is Mohammedan, 
though till about a hundred years ago it was christian, and a 
church and a ruined monastery still exist to show that they 
have changed their faith. The tale goes that the people tired 
of Turkish oppression decided with the bishop — Nunte boasts 
that it was once the seat of a bishop — and priests at their head 
to embrace the religion of the Turks their masters in hopes 
of better treatment. Besides the eleven villages of the true 
Meglen Vlachs, there is one Livadhi which serves as a summer 
residence for shepherd Vlachs from Gramosti who spend the 
winter in the plains be.tween Yenija and Salonica. They 
however keep themselves aloof from the Meglen folk, for they 
consider themselves far superior to agriculturists. As might 
be expected from their environment the Meglen Vlachs are 
strongly under Bulgarian influence, and when Weigand visited 
the district in 1889 two villages in particular, Barovitsa and 
Koinsko, were rapidly changing from Vlach to Bulgarian. 
Greek influence, which had been decreasing, was confined to 
the schools and churches. Recently many of the nationalists, 
who are said to be in the majority in this region, have placed 
themselves under the Exarch. The Meglen Vlachs more than 
many others seem to retain their national costume ; the men 
wear a form of tsipune, and the women's dress, though it has 
become rather Bulgarian in appearance, has been little 
affected by European stuffs and fashions. Thus at the village 
dances the fair sex of the Meglen make a brave show with 


their quaintly decorated aprons and large silver buckles of 
local manufacture. 

To the east and north-east of Salonica there are many 
Vlachs to be found, but there are few if any villages inhabited 
by them alone. All these Vlachs are refugees from Vlaho- 
Livadhi, Neveska, Klisura, Pindus, Gramosti, or the Mnsko- 
pol'e district, and have settled amongst a population that is 
in the main Slav, for, where there is any Greek element at all, 
it is the Vlachs themseh^es who form no inconsiderable portion 
of it. Seres is the most southerh^ town in this region which 
has a \Tach colony, and this is said to number as many as 
two thousand souls, although there may be many more, for 
they are nearly all almost completely hellenized. The progress 
of hellenization with the consequent absorption of the Vlachs 
among the Greeks makes it excessively difficult to distinguish 
those of Vlach origin and those who are not. Nevrekop, 
Demir Hissar, Melenik and Poroi are other towns in this 
district where Vlachs are to be found and like their fellows 
in Seres they are subject to hellenization, and are mainly 
refugees from the south-west and Pindus, for some of them came 
originally from Baieasa. As purely Vlach villages Weigand 
quotes Ramna to the north of Lake Butkovo, Buzhdova and 
Lopova north of Melenik, and the summer village of Baba 
Ali to the north of Seres. Yet farther to the north is Upper 
Dzhumaia with a considerable Vlach colony many of whom 
are nationalists. In this neighbourhood all about the ravines 
and ridges of Rhodope and its outl^ang ranges many en- 
campments of Vlach shepherds exist. Weigand reckons 
the total number of such hamlets of huts at forty-two and 
according to him they have all wandered eastwards from 
Gramosti. It is interesting to note that these shepherds and 
their womenfolk have still preserved the Vlach national dress 
so characteristic of their homeland. They are of course 
nomads and many of them winter in the plains about Kum- 
anovo and Egri Palanka. In Bulgaria the most important 
colony is in Sofia itself where half the trade is said to be in 
Vlach hands, the other half being in the hands of Spanish 
Jews. There are also Vlach colonies in other Bulgarian towns 


such as Tatar Bazar jik and Philippopolis and it is notice- 
able that Bulgarian commercial establishments, such as the 
Bulgarian National Bank, recruit their staff among the boys 
who have been trained in the Roumanian Commercial School 
at Salonica. The main point of the interest of the Vlach 
colon}^ in Sofia is that it is the result of what might be called 
secondary migration. The Vlachs of Sofia have mostly come 
from Monastir, Krushevo and Magarova during the last thirty 
years, and as we have seen the bulk of the Vlachs of the 
Monastir district were refugees from Pindus, Gramos or 
MuskopoFe. The most easterly Vlach colony of which we 
have heard, apart from that at Constantinople, is at Sufli on 
the railway a little to the south of Dimotika where a band of 
wanderers from Laka have settled. In Servia there are Vlachs 
in Nish, Belgrade, Vrania and other towns and in summer a 
number of shepherd families are to be found close to Nish. 
The total number of Vlachs in Bulgaria and Servia is not 
great and at present at least there is a clear distinction between 
the Vlachs of the south and the Roumanians proper, some 
of whom Hve south of the Danube in the districts of Timok 
and Viddin. The two divisions overlap a little, but speaking 
generally one may say that north of Nish and Sofia are 
Roumanians and south of it are Vlachs. 

From the Vlachs in Servia, Bulgaria, East Macedonia and 
Thrace we may turn to those in the west of the peninsula, in 
Epirus, Albania and Dalmatia on the Adriatic slope. A few 
of these have already been noted, since the Zaghori villages are 
strictly speaking in Epirus, and Kortsha and MuskopoFe are 
more in Albania than not. All of these however are on the 
central line of mountains that divides the peninsula, rather 
than definitely west of it like the settlements that now concern 
us. There are some Vlachs permanently settled in Yannina, 
and a large part of the Greek population there is almost 
certainly of Vlach origin ; there are also a few families in Preveza 
and other towns ; but apart from these and the Zaghori villages 
there are no Vlachs in Epirus except the families who come 
there only in winter from Siraku and other Pindus villages. 
In Albania however there are two definite groups. A 


southern one due west of Mount Gramos on the hills which 
lie to the north of Premeti between the rivers Aous and Osum, 
and a northern group just to the west of Berat. The southern 
one contains only four or five small villages, including Frasheri 
from which the Farsherots take their name. By Berat there 
are thirty-eight villages or hamlets, all of small size, with a 
total population in winter of perhaps ten thousand, but in 
summer considerably less. In the towns such as Avlona, Elbasan 
and Durazzo there is also a Vlach population. Conditions of 
life in Albania are more primitive than elsewhere, the villages 
are smaller and more scattered, and the nomadic population 
larger. In many parts of the hills therefore there are probably 
shepherd Vlachs who are not included in either of these two 
groups of villages. To the north of Albania along the Adriatic 
coast a Vlach population once existed ; several Vlach place 
names are recorded in Sir Arthur Evans' papers on Illyria, 
an invaluable work for Dalmatian ethnology. Ragusa itself 
contained a large Vlach element and Dalmatia was the home 
of the Morlachs or Black Vlachs. In Istria at the present 
day a Vlach dialect is spoken, but between Istria and Albania 
it has now ceased, and the Istrian Vlachs, who like the Meglen 
call themselves Vlachs, are widely separated from those in 
Balkan peninsular proper. 

The present distribution and condition of the ATachs 
suggest numerous points of interest. In the first place 
it becomes clear that though many are now settled in the 
towns and villages on the plains as traders, yet as a distinct 
race the Vlachs still belong to the hills. The exclusively 
Vlach villages are all situated in or near the hills, and the 
Vlachs elsewhere are colonists fast losing their nationality. 
Usually, if not always, it is the upper village that is regarded 
as the home of those who migrate, and, while their houses in 
the hills and the land that surrounds them are usually their 
own, their houses in the plains are normally rented. Few of 
the hill villages in the present form are however of any antiquity 
and some like Doliani, Krushevo, Belkamen and Dzhumaia 
are the result of quite modern migrations ; most like the 
Pindus village lay claim to having been founded by the union 


of several shepherd encampments about two hundred years 
ago. The few villages that are definitely older are like Gopesh, 
Metso\^o, Kalarites and Muskopore are situated on or near 
natural trade routes. The recent date of the Vlach villages 
is not only guaranteed by tradition, it can be proved in several 
ways by the lack of any old buildings and by the deeply 
rooted prejudice against the builder's trade. We may say 
then with fair certainty that the Vlachs belong to the hills, 
though their villages there are with some exceptions of recent 
origin. The recent history of the Vlachs as a whole is like 
that of the Pindus villages ; there has been a continual change 
throughout from nomadism in the hills to a settled life in 
trading villages near the passes in the plains. From time 
to time this change has been accentuated ; in the eighteenth 
century there was a great increase in trade ; Vlach merchants 
were settled at Yannina, Metsovo and Kalarites were com- 
mercial centres, MuskopoFe was at its most flourishing stage 
and at the close of this period comes the formation of the 
bulk of the Vlach colonies round Monastir and Seres. The 
trade of the eighteenth century produced a great increase in 
settled life ; it also had other effects, it brought the Vlachs 
into prominence, but at the same time it helped towards 
denationalisation. The Vlach on becoming a trader and 
a permanent dweller in the towns came into close contact 
with other races ; and a knowledge of Greek became essential 
instead of a luxury, especially to those who settled in the 
Greek towns. Hellenism was also helped by the power of the 
Patriarchate which was at its height in the latter half of the 
eighteenth century. In 1767 the Greek Patriarch with the aid 
of the Turks had succeeded in suppressing Bulgarian, Serb and 
Roumanian churches ; this too was the period of elementary 
Greek reading books for the instruction of Albanians, Vlachs 
and other. The closing years of the eighteenth century 
were a period of storm and stress, trade declined generally not 
merely in the south, and the prosperous Vlach villages such as 
Metsovo, Vlaho-Livadhi, and Klisura all dwindled. The families 
that left these villages, which were Vlach trading centres in 
the hills, settled in the towns on the plains and became merged 


into the other races. Thus the decline like the rise of com- 
merce has helped towards the disappearance of the Vlach 
race, and Hellenism in the Balkans which in every other 
race has rapidly decreased of late, among the Vlachs alone has 
made progress. 

The fortunes of the Vlachs from the time of the Turkish 
conquest, when they submitted and in many places secured 
the privilege of being under the Valide Sultan, up to the 
eighteenth century are almost impossible to ascertain in detail. 
Local tradition does not really begin till later, and outside 
tradition there are few or no surviving records. The fifteenth, 
sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries are therefore almost a 
complete blank, and the history of the Vlachs before that 
period forms a separate subject. It may however be safely 
assumed that the change from a wandering to a fixed life was 
a continuous process, and that the early tales of Metsovo and 
Samarina, if not in detail true, are so in their main outlines. 


'H yKai(T(Ta jxas dvai fiia fieyaXr] (raXdra. 

Our language is one great salad. 

Cretan Saying 

VLACH is a Latin language and a dialect of Roumanian, 
but naturally owing to the isolation and dispersion of 
those who speak it, it has remained in an undeveloped 
condition and from time to time adopted many foreign words. 
But although the adoption of foreign words may obscure the 
language for those who have only a slight acquaintance with it, 
for all that the grammar, which is the essential base of any 
tongue, retains its true Latin character. Roumanian dialects 
fall into the following groups : — the Roumanian of the king- 
dom and Transilvania with many subdivisions, the Istrian 
dialect, Meglen and lastly Vlach with its own subdivisions. 
Some Roumanian philologists say that Vlach is in the con- 
dition in which Roumanian proper probabl}/ was several 
hundred years ago. Its isolation and the fact that it was 
not reduced to writing have kept its syntax in a very simple 
state. Like all Roumanian dialects Vlach has one great 
peculiarity which marks it off from all other Romance lan- 
guages. The article instead of being placed in front of the 
noun is attached as a kind of sufhx at the end, and it is through 
the declension of the suffixed article that the nouns them- 
selves are declined. The article is of course derived from 
the Latin ille, for example the Latin ilium vicinum becomes 
in French and Italian le voisin and il vicino, but in Vlach 
vitsinlu. This peculiarity in the position of the article the 
Roumanian dialects have in common with two neighbouring 


languages, Albanian and Bulgarian, and it also occurs in some 
South Russian dialects, but elsewhere among Indo-European 
tongues is found only in Scandinavian languages. 

Owing to the fact that Vlach has never been written till 
recently there is no literary language which can be said to be 
generally known in all Vlach districts. Nor of course is there 
any recognised convention of spelling as in other languages. 
These circumstances make it very difhcult to give any account 
of the tongue without straying into digressions about dialectic 
tricks. In the following brief account of the structure of Vlach 
we have attempted to set down the common forms which can- 
not be described as peculiar to any one dialect, but the base 
of our knowledge of the language is the dialect of Samarina. 
At the end we have tried to show how the pronunciation and 
vocabulary vary in the separate dialects where such can be 
distinguished. In every case, for the sake of brevity, we 
have not troubled to indicate all the exceptions and irregu- 
larities, for Vlach grammar like every other has plenty of 

Phonetic Changes 

As regards the vowel sounds it is necessary to bear in mind 
that the general tendency of Vlach is in favour of the following 
changes : 

Unaccented (oa) and e {ea) become u and?, 
Unaccented u and i are dropped. 
Unaccented a becomes a or a, except when initial, 
Unaccented dor a are dropped. 

This is well illustrated in the following verbs : 

Infin. mkdre, Pres. ntdkii, Pret. nikai ; 

Infin. kripdre, Pres. krepu, Imper. kredpd ; 

Infin. skutedre, Pres. skotu, Pret. skodshu ; 

Infin. bdtedre, Pres. bdtii, Pret. bdfiU ; 

Infin. p{uyedre, Pres. potit, Pret. piui. 

These changes naturally affect spoken Vlach very much. 
The final i in conjunctions such as shi and si, in verbs and in 


pronouns like tsi, mi and I'i drops, and this in turn produces 
other changes. Thus : 

s becomes z before b as voi z beau, I want to drink, 
before d as voi z dormu, I want to sleep, 
before v as vine z veadd, he came to see, 
before y as I'i dzdse z yind, he told him to come, 
sh becomes zh before the same consonants, 

z duse la hani zh bin, he went to the inn and drank, 
kddzu zh d aklo, he fell from there too, 
vin'u zh vidzui, I came and saw, 
si should zh yine, he gets up and comes, 
is becomes z before the same as, 

z bdgai measa, I set the table for 5'ou, 

z dedii Idna, I gave you the wool, 

tsez vd, go (for dutsets vd). 

z yine lata is, your father is coming to you. 

Also / before d becomes v, thus we get vdzi for fudzi, he 
went, and when the i and u of I'i, li and lu drop before a con- 
sonant a sound varying between a and a is introduced before 
the /, e.g. 

dl' dzdse, he told him, 

but before vowels a is not inserted and only the i drops, e.g. 

/' adrd kartea, he wrote the letter for him. 

As to final i and u, they are not pronounced when the 

word is in the middle of a sentence, but only if it is at the end, 


ved kd easie giant, I see he is mad, 

but easte glar^ u vedu, he is mad, I see it ; and 

tora h'im fratsi, now we are brothers, 

but vai h'im frats tora, we will be brothers now. 

But final H and w are often retained after two consonants. 

Before plunging into Vlach grammar it will be advisable 
to give a short list of the principal phonetic changes that the 
original Latin sounds have undergone. We have the change of 

/ to r, hare for qiialem, 

II to u, steaud for stellam, 

rv to rb, korbti, for corvum, 

net to mt, umtii for unctum, 

pi, pe to k'i, k'e, k'inu for pimim, k'ale for pellem, 

bi, be to g'i, g'ine for bene, 


intervocalic b to v, avemii for habemus, 

vi to yi, yinii for vinimi, 

intervocalic v being dropped, nou for novum, 

fi, fe to h'i, h'e, h'il'e for filiam, h'erbu for ferveo, 

ti, te to ts, tutsi for toti, tsara for terram, 

tionem to tshune, nigaishune for rogationem , 

di, de to (i^, dzdku for ^jco, dzatse for decern, 

s to sA, shedu for sedeo, but not always, 

sAz to s^^z, s/i/n« for scio, 

^?, y^e to ^s, fafsd for faciem, dzatse for decern, tseard for ceram, 

kt to />^, o/j^zi for octo, 

As to /?5, /i'//5S(2 for fixit, frapsinu for fraximmi, 

qua to /?«, ea/^a for equam, except in relatives, kdndu and 

katii for quando and quantum, 
qui, que to ^s?, /sz for ^i«'i, tsintsi for quinque, 
gua to 6a, limbd for linguam, 

gi, ge to i^^?;, ^^e, mardzine for marginem, dzeand for geiiam, 
gn to mn, lemnu for lignum, 
j to ^^A, dzhone for juvenem. 


There are three genders, — MascuHne, Feminine and Neuter 
as in Latin. As in the case of other Romance languages it 
would perhaps be more correct to sa}^ that there is no Neuter 
as a direct survival of Latin. The neuter nouns in the singular 
have become assimilated to the masculine and in the plural to 
the feminine. However in Vlach as in Italian a large number 
of original neuter plurals have survived. Consequently for 
the sake of simplicity we have preferred to treat the neuter as 
a separate gender, though this inevitably leads to some 

The Formation of the Plural 

All Masculine Nouns end in u, u or e according to their 
Latin originals, and foreign words may end in u, i, a or 0, e.g. 
oiiu (man) from homo, kdne (dog) from canis, udd (room) from 
the Turkish oda, pitnipit (warden) the Greek gT/rpoTo?, pam- 
pordzhi (steamer captain) from the Italian vapore with the 
Turkish termination ji (e.g. draba, a cab ; drahaji, a cabman 
and maraiigo (carpenter) from the Greek [jM^^ocyyoi. 


The plural invariably ends in i ; even the plurals of foreign 
words which usually form it by adding adzi to the stem end in i. 
We have lupu (wolf) luk'i, tramvaidzhi (tram conductor) 
tyamvaidzhadzi (from the English tramway through the Italian 
with the Turkish termination ji and the plural ending adzi 
adopted from Modern Greek which delights to use this, e.g. 
ioprrj ioprdhzg, (BaffiXidg (3u(nXtd^sg) , udd udadzi, pitrupu pit- 
rupadzl, niarango mararigadzi. 

All Feminine Nouns end in a or ^ according to their Latin 
derivation, jneasd (table) mensa, fatsd (face) fades, and foreign 
words that are of the same gender, e.g. tin'ie (price) from the 
Greek rifjjri, zanate (trade) from the Turkish sanat. 

Nouns in a form the plural in e, e.g. kasd (house) kdse, and 
those in e in i, e.g. parte (part) pdrtsi, politic (town) politii 
(Greek 'Trokinia) , kimak'e (camp) kundk'i (Turkish qonaq). 

In words ending in aud, if they are of Latin origin, the II 
of the stem reappears in the plural, e.g. steaud (star) stealle 
from Stella, but if they are foreign words, the plural is formed 
in ei, e.g. kiikuveaud (owl) kukuvei from the Greek Kovzov^aia ; 
but the two classes are sometimes confused and we get kuku- 
veale, and mdsci (jaws) instead of mdsealle from maxillae. 

Feminine nouns ending in md, which are really Greek 
neuters, form their plurals as in Greek with a slight alteration, 
e.g. mathimd (lesson) fuathimate for the Greek [jA0r][jjCi [jjci0f][jjccrci. 

Dzud (day) dzdle (Latin dies) is quite irregular. 

All Neuter Nouns end in u and make their plural in c, e.g. 
leinnu (wood) leamne from lignum ligna ; but those of the Latin 
third declension make the plural in iirc, e.g. k'eptu (breast) 
k'epture for pectus pectora. This latter termination by false 
analogy has become the usual form for the neuter plural, e.g. 
loku lokure for locum loca (place) and yinu yinnre for vinum 
vina (wine). It thus occurs in borrowed words, which are 
made neuter, 

as nomu nomure (Greek i/o/nor), law ; 
and giisiu gusture (Italian gusto), taste. 

In some cases it even occurs in masculine and feminine words, 
e.g. lapte lapture (masc. from lac milk) and kale kdVure (fem. 
from callis road) . 


A few words still retain the true Latin form in their plurals : 

omii oamin'i for homo homines, 
sard surdre for soror sorores, 
oaspe oaspitsi for hospes hospUes, and 
kapu kapite for caput capita. 

Then certain nouns implying relationship form the plural 
in an'i or dn'i : 

mumd mother, mumdn'i, 

tatd father, tdtdn'i, 

papa grandfather, pdpdn'i, 

laid uncle, Idldn'i, and 

aushu old man, aushdn'i, though aiishi also occurs. 

This termination occurs as a plural form in some family 
names : 

Paka Pak'anl'i, the Paka's, 

Yaka Yak'anl'i, the Yaka's, 

Tsaknak'i Tsaknak'anVi, the Tsaknaki's, and 

Dadal'ari DadaVavanl'i, the Dadal'ari's, 

while the other usual form for the plural in family names is 

adzi : 

Lighura Lighuradzl'i, the Lighura's, 
Pole FttVadzl'i, the Pole's. 

These plurals in dn'i apparently correspond to the Old French 
ace. sing, and nom. and ace. plur. in ain or ains, e.g. ante antain 
aunt, Eve Evain, which is perhaps the Vulgar Latin termination 
anes. This also occurs in Italian and Romansch and in all 
three languages in exactly the same class of words as in Vlach. 
One peculiarity of Vlach is that the final i of the plural 
often affects the preceding consonant and changes it. This 
of course applies to all masculine nouns except those which 
make their plural with adzl or an'i. It also affects most 
feminine nouns, but not all. The majority of the feminine 
nouns end in a and so make the plural in e, but since the 
general tendency in Vlach is to change unaccented e into i, 
for most practical purposes the plural for them also ends in i. 
The only words which this does not affect are those ending 
with shd, e.g. moashd, the plural of which is always moashe, old 


women. The consonants affected are many and we have the 
change of 

« to w', maud rndn'i (hand), ayiu an'i (year), 

rn to «', Idkrimd Idkrin'i (tear), yermu yern'i (worm), 

I to /', poald pol'i (apron), kalu kal'i (horse), 

g to dz, tshorgd tshordzi (rug), largu Idrdzi (broad), 

k to ts, hisearikd biseritsi (church), shoariku shoaritsi (mouse), 

/ to ts, poartd portsi (door), bdrbatu bdrbatsi (man), but niveastd 

niveaste (bride), 
d to dz, grendd grendzi (tree trunk), but pravdd pravde (beast 

of burden), 
b to g', iarbd ierg'i (grass), albu alg'i (white), but limbd limbe 

p to k' , groapd gvok'i (grave), lupu liik'i (wolf), but iseapd 

tseape (onion), 
/ to h' , bufu buh'i (owl), 
V to y, gavii gayi (blind), 

and even foreign words are not exempt, for we have 

adete adetai, the Turkish ddet, custom, 

kdrkliku kdrklitsi, the Turkish qirqliq, a forty para piece, 

k'ibape k'ibdk'i, for the Turkish kebab, roast meat, 

litkume lukun't, for the Turkish loqina, piece, lump, 

psofu psoh'i, the Greek ■v//-o0toy, dead (of animals), 

sklavu sklayi, the Greek uKkaf^os, slave or prisoner, and in 

the singular 
prukuk'ie, for the Greek TrpoKoni'i, progress. 

Another characteristic featm^e of Vlach is that the radical 
vowel of the stem can be affected by the following vowel of 
the termination. Thus : 

becomes oa, and 
e becomes ea, 

when followed by a, a or c, but they appear as simple vowels 
if i or u follow. If final e has changed to i, the rule given is 

This rule affects feminine nouns in the singular, e.g. 

oard ori, hour ; oaie oi, sheep ; 

seard seri, evening ; ml'eare ml'eri, woman ; 

and neuter nouns in the plural, e.g. 

kornu koarne, horn, 
mern nieare, apple. 


Also a becomes a if the next vowel was or is i, e.g. 

karie kdrtsi, letter, 
mdkare, mdkdri, food, 
adunare adundri, meeting. 

These last two words are of course infinitives used as nouns. 
Foreign words too have to bow to this rule, and we have 

livadhe Uvddzi, meadow, from the Greek Xei/3aSt, 
kunak'e kundk'i, camp, from the Tuiicish qonaq. 

These phonetic changes of vowels and consonants do not 
affect nouns alone, but of course verbs as well, which will be 
illustrated when we come to consider the conjugations. 

The Article 

The masculine article is lu for words in u, u, i, and a, 
and le for those in e, and the plural in all cases is I'i. 

The feminine article is a with the plural le. 

The neuter article is lu with the plural le. 

The suffixed article affects to some extent the final vowel 

of the word to which it is attached. Before a a drops, and 

e is retained except when it follows 

sh as kdmeashe kdmeasha (camiciam), shirt, 
/' as fumeal'e fiimeal'a {familiam), family, 
or a vowel as kleaie kleaia {clavem), key. 

Before lu final ti and u disappear except after a vowel as 
boulu (bovem ilium), the ox, 

or two consonants as 

okl'u okl'ulu (oculum ilium), the eye. 

Before I'i i drops, omlu [homo ilium) oamin'l'i homines 
illi) ; and before le i is retained and e becomes i, as 

pdrtsile {partes illae) and measile (mensae illae). 

Foreign words follow the same rules, e.g. 

pitrupu pitiuphi (Greek, warden), yatni yatrulu (Greek, doctor), 

and the final vowel, if accented, is retained before lu, as 

paltolu (Italian, greatcoat), 
k'iradzhilu (Turkish, muleteer), and 
tsdruhdlu (Greek, cobbler). 


The suffixed article is declined and thus the cases of the 
nouns are formed, e.g. 

mensam illatn dominum ilium fratrem ilium lignum ilium 
S. Xom. Ace. measa domnulii fratile lemnulu 

Gen. Dat. a measil'ei a domnulu a fratilui a lemnulu 

P. Nom. Ace. tneasile domn'l'i fratsl'i leamnile 

Gen. Dat. a measilor a domnilor a fratslor a leamnilor 

It will be noticed that the genitive singular is formed 
from the original dative. In the singular there is an alterna- 
tive form of the genitive and dative in which the article is 
suffixed to the preposition a and not to the noun, and this 
also was a dative form originally, e.g. 

illi piiellae illi domino illi fratri illi loco 

ale feate alii domnu alii frate alu lokU 

But this form is hardly ever used in the case of words 
expressing inanimate objects, and when used as a genitive is 
nearly always personal, e.g. 

dulunidlu ale feate, the gii'l's coat, 
kutsutlu alii furit, the robber's knife ; 

but we have rare cases such as : 

koada ale steaud, the star's tail (of a comet), 
patlu ale yilie, the bottom of the glass. 

Other cases if required are formed \\\i\\ the aid of pre- 
positions, e.g. 

di to make a genitive, gurd di asime, a mouth of silver ; 
di la to make an ablative, di la pdldthiri, from the window ; 
pri to make an emphatic accusative, mi mimdri pri mine, 
he looked at me ; 

but this last is probably due to Roumanian inffiience. 

The Vocative is always the same as the unarticulated 
nominative, e.g. 

featd girl, fraie brother, lata father, fiishorii boy ; 

but certain words implying relationship make the vocative 
in 0, e.g. 

lalo uncle, teto aunt, maiko mother ; 

and this has been adopted from Bulgarian. 


Only a few words still preserve the true Latin vocative 
form, e.g. 

vitsine neighbour, barbate husband, fuvtate blood brother, 
krishtine christian, kusurine cousin. 

Exceptions to any rule are the vocatives of 

Dumnidzeu Dumnidzale God, Hristo Hristoase Christ. 


These may be formed by the addition of the following 
terminations : 

iku, ikd as fitsJioru fitshoriku, little boy ; featd fitikd, little 

Kshu, ushd as Kola Kulushu, little Nicholas ; kurkubetd 

kurkubitushd, a little vegetable marrow ; 
iishd apparently only feminine, as gurd guritshd, a pretty 

little mouth ; yilie yilitshd, a pretty little glass ; 
shoru apparently masculine only, k'inu k'inshoru, a nice 

little pine ; bunii bunshoru, rather good ; loku lokshoru, 

a nice little place. 

Fitshoru boy, is itself really a diminutive of this last class 
and is derived from the obsolete fetii, which would of course 
be the masculine form oi featd girl. 

An Albanian diminutive is zd, ndtheamdzd a very little. 


Adjectives are declined in all cases like the nouns. Those 
in II decline thus : 


jNI. bunu 

F. bund 

N. bunu 


M. buni 

F. bicne 

N. bune 

The adjective is of course not articulated unless it comes 
before the noun or is turned into a noun itself by the addition 
of the article, for instance one can say : 

eu mttndriam biinlu a indreagdl'ei jumeal'e 


eu mundriam bunlu a ftimeal'il'ei indreagd 

I was considering the good of the whole family. 


As a rule the adjective comes after the noun which it 
quahties, e.g. 

un kal bunu, a good horse ; una. kasd mare, a big house. 
Adjectives in c have the same forms for all genders : 

M. F. N. S. vearde P. verdzi green 

mare mdri great, big 

diiltse dultsi sweet 

Adjectives in esku form thus : 

S. M. yifiesku F. yifteashd N. yiftesku gipsy 
P. M. yifteshti F. yifteshti N. yifteshti 

Those that end in diphthongs are exceptions, for in the 
feminine they are assimilated to the nouns in aud, e.g. 

j\I. ardu 

F. araiia 

N. ardu 










M. ardi 

F. arale 

N. arale 







Laiu, black, follows the ordinary rule. 
Adjectives of foreign origin decline thus : 

S. M. hazo, fiikara F. hazoan'e, fukaroan'e mad, poor 

P. M. hazadzi, fukaradzi F. hazoan'e, fukaroan'e 

and this termination can also be used to form feminine nouns 
in the case of foreign words, e.g. 

vdsil'e king, vdsiloan'e queen ; 

tshelnihu shepherd, tshelnikoan'e shepherdess. 

TJic Comparison of Adjectives 

The comparative is formed by placing ma more before 
the positive, and the superlative by putting ma before the 
articulated positive, e.g. 

Inmti good, ma bunu better, ma hiinln tlie best. 

An intensive comparative may be formed by the use of 
ka or ninkd, e.g. 

ha ma slabu or ninka iua slubu, much worse. 



The only true adverbial form is g'inc well, the adverb of 
hunu ; otherwise those formed from adjectives have the same 
form as the unarticulated masculine singular. 

The principal adverbs of time and place are : 

aoa, aoatse here, 

aklo there, 

di supra, susii above, 

ndundnt within, 

ing'os below, 

ndfoard out of doors, 

aproape near, 

napoi after, 

ninkd still, again, 

atumtsea then, 

iora now, 

asdns to-day, 

mane to-morrow, 

paimdne the day after to-morrow, 

aieri yesterday, 

aoaltari the other day, 

dineavra just now. 

Affirmatives and Negatives 

Vlach has no proper words for yes and no. In the south 
where Greek influence is strong nc and oh'i are used. In the 
north nu is used for no, and ashitsi or ashi (lit. so) is used 
for yes, though occasionally the Slavonic da is employed 
through Roumanian influence. 

Negatives and affirmatives can be qualified with fdrd di 
altd certainly, and nakd or poate si h'ihd perhaps. 


The numerals from one to ten are : 

unu, doi, trei, patrii, tsintsi, shasse, shapte, optu, noaud, 

Eleven and twelve are usprddzatse and dosprddzatse, fifteen 
tsisprddzatse and so on. 


Twenty is yingitsi ; thirty, forty and the other tens up to 
a hundred arc iredzdtse, patntdzdtse and so on, with 
sheidzdtse for sixty and ohdzdtse for eighty. 

A hundred is und sutd and a tliousand is und n'ile. 

Twenty-one is usprdyingitsl and so on, but thirty-one is 
iredzdtse imu and so witli forty-one, etc. 

All numerals above ten take after them the preposition 
di, e.g. 

shapte oamin'i but iredzdtse di oi ; the only exception is yifigiist. 



nal Pronouns 


With Verbs. 


, Ace. 

Gen. Dat. 



Gen. Dat. 

First Pers. S. 

eu, io 

1, mine 

a n'ia 






a noaiid, 



nd, nd 

Second Pers. S. 


a tsdia 



tsi, tsd, tsd 



a voaiid 



vd, vd 

Third Pers. S. 



a lui 






a I'ei 


0, u 





a lor 



Id, Id 



a lor 



Id, Id 

For the third personal pronoun one can also use : 

S. M. ndsu S. F. ndsd P. M. vdsM P. F. ndse 

Possessive Pronouns 

The possessive pronouns and pronominal adjectives can 
either be independent or suffixed : 
The independent forms arc — 

S. Nom. Ace. Gen. Dat. 

P. Nom. Ace. ' 

Gen. Dat 

First Pers. 


amen, amelu amilui 








Second Pers. 











Third Pers. 


a lui 

a lui 


a I'ci 

a I'ei 

First Pers. 



anostrii i 








Second Pers. 











Third Pers. 



a lor 

a lor 



If a neuter is required the masculine form is used in the 
singular and the feminine in the phiral, e.g. 

loklu atdu, leamnile atale, 

and so throughout. 

The suffixed forms are as follows : 

Nom. Ace. 

Gen. Dat. 

First Pers. 


11' 11, fatdn'u my father 

n'ui, a tatdn'ui 


n'i, maikd n'i my mother 

n'i, ale maikd n'i 

An enclitic mu is also used with vocatives, e.g. maiko m ; 
this is the Modern Greek enclitic possessive [JjOv. 

Second Pers. M. tii or ts, kaplu is your head titi, a fraiitui 

F. ta or ts, kasd ts your house tai or is, a maikdtai 

Third Pers. M. su or I'i, tatd I'i his father sui or I'i, a fratisvii 
F. sa or /'/, kasd I'i his house sai or I'i, a sorsai 

First Pers. M. F. nd or nd indeclinable 

Second Pers. M. F vd or vd indeclinable 

Third Pers. M. F. Id or Id indeclinable 

Demonstrative Pronouns 

S. Nom. Ace. Gen. Dat. 
This. M. aestu aesttii 

F. aestd aestei 

That. M. atseu, atsel atselui 
F. atsea atsel'ei 

'. Nom. Ace. 

Gen. Dat, 





atsei, atsel'i 




Relative Pronouns 

Nom. Ace. 

Gen. Dat. 


M. F. kare 

a kui 


M. F. kavi 

Indeclinable, all genders and all cases, tsi. 
For the genitive and dative plural of kare a periphrasis 
with tsi is used, e.g. 

oamin'l'i atsel'i tsi Id ded kartea vdzird, 

those men to whom I gave the letter have gone. 

Both kare and tsi are used as interrogatives as well : 
kare easte who is it ? 


Relative Adverbs 

Of these we have kdndu when, kumu how, katse why, 
iu where or whither and di in whence, all of which are used 
interrogati\Tly as well. 

To these we may perhaps add : 

iuva nowhere, 

aliura somewhere else, and 

pide (Greek ttots') or vara oard never. 

Indefinite Pronouns 

S. Nom. Ace. 

Gen. Dat. 

P. Nom. Ace. 

Gen. Dat. 

One, some. 

M. iiml 

a vinui 


a ndskdntor 

F. una 

a unci 


a ndskdntor 

In the plural a unor is sometimes heard. 

One, some. M. vdru, vrdnii a vvdmii 
F. vara, vrdnd a vrdnei 

This is nearly always negative, e.g. 

nu vidzui vrdnii, I saw no one ; 
but it can occasionally be positive : 

am vdrd sutd di kal'i, I have about a hundred horses. 

Kanu which is probably Greek in origin is similar in mean- 
ing and declension. 

Other. M. altu a altui alisi a altor 

F. altd a altei alte a altor 

The other. ]\I. alantu alantui alantsi alantor 

F. alantd alantei alante alantor 

Kdtu (quantum) how many, tutu (totmn) all, multu (multum) 
many and ahdntu [aique or eccum tantum) as many as, all follow 
the ordinary rules for adjectives. 

Kathe each, and kdte one apiece, are indeclinable, e.g. 

la kathe fiishor dcdu kdte una niishkdturd di pane, 
I gave each boy one scrap of bread apiece. 

We may also add here tsiva nothing, dipu altogether and 
ndtheamd a little, e.g. 

Nu am tsiva paradz dip, I have no money whatsoever, 
Voi ndtheamd pane, I want a Uttlc bread. 



In Vlach the prepositions may be either simple or com- 
pound. The commonest simple prepositions are : 

a at, a kasa, at home ; 

ira for, atseic easte trd not, that is for us ; 

di of, kasd di save, a house of salt ; 

la to, at, si duse la haiii, he went to the inn ; easte la hani, he is 

at the inn ; 
ku with, steaua ku koadd, the star with a tail ; 
in in, in kasa, in the house ; 
pri on, pri measa, on the table ; 

sum under, kddzu sum kinu, he fell under a pine tree ; 
kdtrd towards, kdtrd seard, towards evening ; 
fdrd without, fdrd minte, without sense ; 
pdnd as far as, pdnd muntile, as far as the hill ; 
dupd behind, after, vine diipd mine, he came after me ; 
ningd near, u bdgd ningd mine, he put it near me. 

Compound prepositions in ordinary use are : 

di la from, kiiskvi di la ghamhvolu, wedding guests from the 

bridegroom ; 
di pri out of, u arkd di pri pdldlhiri, he threw it out of window ; 
di iu out of, noi vinim di tu Anglie, we came from England. 


The commonest are : 

shi, di and, 

ma but, 

i . , . i either ... or, 

ni . . . ni, nekd . . . nekd neither . . . nor, 

kd because, as, since, that, 

kdndu, kara when, 

dupd tse after 

ku tute kd or molonoti (Greek) for all that, 

ka si, makd if, 

taha as if, 

td si or trd si in order that, 

ka, kanda as, like ; 

and where Greek influence is strong omos however, Upon well 
and similar words will be used, and we have heard the Persian 
hem (also) used as meaning and. 



The conjugation of the Vlach verb follows the Latin very 
closely in many respects. We will begin with the auxiliary 
verbs h'irc to be and aveare to have. 
Wire to be (Latin fieri). 








eskn, h 







esku, si h 

'ill, si 



eshti, h 


ear at 



eshti, si h 



caste, i 





si h'ibd 

















si h'ibd 

The future is formed by using va si, vat or va with the 
forms of the present subjunctive, e.g. 

vai h'iii, vai h'ii, vai h'iba, etc. 

The difference between va si and vai is dialectic, the former 
being used in the north and the latter in the south. Va, as 
a rule, is only used when a pronoun intervenes between it 
and verb, e.g. 

va n' h'ibd arhoare, 

I shall be cold (lit. there will be cold for me). 

The conditional is made by using vjxa in the same way, 

ha si yineai tine vrea h'ibd und mare hdraud trd noi, 
if 5^ou came it would be a great pleasure for us. 

We have heard a perfect in use at Muskopol'e, am futd 
I have been, and so it is possible that a past participle fiitii 
does exist. 

In the south a perfect subjunctive still survives, si farim, 
but is used as an imperfect. 

Aveare to have (Latin habere). 

Ind. Pres. 



Subj. Pres. 





si am 




si ai 





si aibd 

si aibd 




si avemii 




si avetsi 





si aibd 

si aibd 


The future is formed with va si, vai or va, e.g. 

vai am, vai at, vai aibd, etc., 

like the present subjunctive. 

The conditional is formed with vyea in the same way as the 
future. The present participle is avdnddlui (really a Latin 
gerundive) and the past participle is avutu. 

From the latter a compound pefect and pluperfect can be 
formed, e.g. 

am avutd I have had, aveam avutd I had had. 

Li the south a perfect subjunctive with an imperfect meaning 
still survives, si avearim, otherwise if an imperfect or other 
tenses of the subjunctive are wanted they can be formed by 
using si with the corresponding tenses of the indicative, e.g. 

si aveam, si am avutd, si aveam avutd ; 

but in a simple language like Vlach such tenses are very rarely 
if ever required. 

A future perfect can be made by using vai or va si with the 
preterite : 

vai avushi you will have had, or vai ai avutd. 

Similarly a past conditional can be made by using uvea with 
the preterite : 

vrea avu he would have had. 

The other verbs may be divided into four conjugations on 
the basiij of Latin. 

The First Conjugation contains most verbs of the Latin 

first conjugation, verbs in edzu and zburdsku to speak. 

Kdftare to ask for (Latin captare). 

Ind. Pres. Imperf. Pret. Subj. Pres. Imper. Part. Pres. 

kdftu kdftdm kdftai si kaftu kdftdnddlui 

kdftsi kdftai kdftdshi si kaftsi kaftd Part, Past. 

kdftd kdftd kdftd si kaftd si kaftd kdftatik. 

kdftdmU kdftdmii kdftdmii si kdftdmu 

kdftdtsi kdftdtsi kdftdtu si kdftatsi kdftatsi 

kdftd, kdftu kdftd kdftdrd si kaftd si kaftd 

Future, va si, vai or va kaftu, etc. Conditional, vrea kaftu. etc. 
Compound perfect and pluperfect, am kdftatd, aveam kdftatd, etc. 



Other extra tenses can be formed if needed as in the case of 
aveare. It is to be noticed how the change of accent affects 
the vowel in the first syllable ; as another example we can take — 

skulare to raise (Latin excollocare or excolare for exlocare). 
Ind. Pres. Imperf. Pret. Subj. Pres. Imper. Part. Past. 

Third Pers. 
skolii skuldm sk(ii)lai si skodld 

Verbs in edzu form the present thus : 

skodld skiildtu 

Lukrare to work, lukredzu, lukredzi, hikreadze, lukrdmu, lukratsi, 


but are otherwise regular. The third person of the subjunctive 

is si lukreadzd. 

Zburdre to speak, makes its present thus : 

zhiivdskii, zburdshii, zhurashte, zburdmu, zhuratsi, zhuvdsku, 

but in all its other tenses is quite regular. The third person of 
the subjunctive is si zhiiraskd. 

The Second Conjugation makes the infinitive in eare and 
the preterite in ui ; it contains verbs of the second and third 
Latin conjugations, a few of the fourth, and the few verbs in 
sku which are of Latin origin like pasku pdshteare to pasture. 

videare to see (Latin videre). 

Ind. Pres. 



Subj. Pres. 


Part. Pres. 




si vedu 



V ideal 


si vedzl 


Part. Past. 




si veadd 

si veadd 





si videmii 




si videtsi 





si veadd 

si veadd 

Future, va si, vai or va vedii, etc. Conditional, vrea vedu, etc. 
Compound perfect and pluperfect, am vidzuta, avcam vidzuta. 

Other compound tenses can be formed for the subjunctive, 
etc., as in the case of aveare. 

As another example we can take the common verb — 

iritseare to pass by (Latin iraicere). 
Ind. Pres. Imperf. Pret. Subj. Pres. Imper. Part. Past. 


tritsedm iyikui 

Third Pers. 
si ireakd 





The principal verbs in skii of this conjugation are — 

kunosku I know, mesku I treat, pasku I pasture, akresku I grow, 
hasku I gape, invesku I clothe. 

They conjugate thus : 

mishteare to treat. 

id. Pres. Imperf. 


Subj. Pres. 
Third Pers. 


Part. Past, 

mesku mishtedm 


si measkd 



The present indicative goes — 

mesku, meshti, medshte, mishtemii, mishtetsi, mesku. 

The Third Conjugation mainly contains verbs of the 
Latin third conjugation and makes the infinitive in eare and 
the preterite in u. 

spuneave to tell (Latin exponere). 
Ind. Pres. Imperf. Pret. Subj. Pres. Imper. Part. Pres. 

spunu spimedm spushu si spunii spitudnddlui 

si spun'i spune Part. Past. 

si spund si spund spusu 
si spunemii 

si spunetsi si spunetsi 
si spund si spund 
Future, va si, vai or va spunii, etc. Conditional, vrea spunii. 
Compound perfect and pluperfect, am spusd, aveani spusd. 

Other compound tenses for the subjunctive, etc., can be 
formed on the model of aveare. 

As other examples we can take — 

Ind. Pres. Imperf. Pret. Subj. Pres. Imper. 

Third Pers. 
iindeare to spread or stretch — 
tindu tindedm, ieshu, timshu si tin da tinde 
frdndzeare to break — 

spun'i spuneai spusesM 

spune spuned spuse 

spunemii spunedmii spusimH 

spunetsi spunedtsi spusitH 

spunii spuned spHsird 

Part. Past. 

tesii, tiyntii 

frdngu frdndzedm fredzhu 

fdtseare to make — 
fdka fdtsedm fetshu 

dutseare to lead — 
dukii dutsedm, dushu 

trddzeare to draw or drag — 
trdgu trddzedm irdpshu 

arddeare to laugh — 
arddH arddedm arashu 

dzdtseare to say — 
dzdku dzdtsedm dzdshu 

si frdngd frdndze 
si fakd fd 

si dukd du 




si tragd 
si arddd 
si dzdkd 

tradze traptu 

ardde arasu 




The Fourth Conjugation contains verbs of the fourth 
and thh-d Latm conjugations, the infinitive is in ire and the 
preterite in ii. To this conjugation can also be reckoned all 
the verbs in esku which are almost without exception foreign 
verbs incorporated in Vlach such as — 

pistipsesku I believe, from the Greek TrtoTfio), 

g'izivsesku I wander, from the Turkish gezmek to go, gezdirmeh 

to cause to go, and 
mutyesku I look at, from the Slavonic root motri to see, as in 

s-motreti to look at. 

In the case of borrowed Greek verbs esku is always added 
to the aorist stem, e.g. ocXXd^cu tiXXa^ix, I change, becomes in 
Vlach aldksesku with the infinitive aldksire. 

durn'ire to sleep (Latin dormire). 

Ind. Pres. Imperf. Pret. Subj. Pres. Impcr. Part. Pres. 

dorinu durn'inddhii 

dorn'i dorn'i Part. Past. 

doarmd si doarmd durn'itu 

' diirn'imu 

durn'itsi durn'itsi 

doarmd si doarmd 

m,eic. CondiXioxidiX vrea dovmu. 
Compound perfect and pluperfect am durn'itd, aveain durn'itd. 

Other compound tenses can be formed for the subjunctive, 
etc., as in the case of aveare. 
Another example is — 

avdzdre to hear (Latin audire). 

Ind. Pres. Imperf. Pret. Subj. Pres. Imper. Part. Past. 

Tloird Pers. 
dvdu avdzddm avdzdi si dvdd avde or avdzd avdzdtu 

The verbs in esim conjugate as follows : 

Ind. Pres. Imperf. Pret. Subj. Pres. Imper. Part. Past. 

Third Pers. 
pulimsire to fight, from Greek noXfixa encAefxrja-a — 
pulimseskii pulimsidm pulimsii si pulimsedskd pulimsid pulimsitu 

hrdnire to feed, to keep, from Slavonic chraniti — 
hrdnSsku hrdnidm hrdnii si hrdneaskd hrdnia hrdniiH 

bitisire to finish, from the Turkish bifmek through the Greek — 
itisesku biiisidm biiisn si hitiseaskd bitisid bitisitii 






















d urn' id 
Rntiire 7)a <;i 

vai nr va d. 





Irregular Verbs 
It will have been seen that not all the verbs given above 
as typical examples of their respective conjugations can be 
described as regular, especially in the third conjugation. 
In this case the different methods of forming the preterite 
and past participle depend on the Latin originals. Further 
as regards the imperative it seems that the old fashion was 
that in the singular at least it should have a special form, e.g. 
tinde, avde, spune, etc. ; but now it is more usual for the second 
person singular of the present indicative to be used, e.g. vedzt, 
avdzl. Three verbs — dutseare, dzdtseare and fdtseare — have still 
retained their peculiar Latin imperatives du, dzd and fa. 
Dutseare owing to the common habit of dropping unaccented 
u has bye-forms which are in ordinary use because in its re- 
flexive form mi duku, I go, is perhaps the most used of all 
Vlach verbs. Thus nd diUsidmu is nd tsidmu, vd dutsetsi is vd 
tsetsl and dutsetsi vd is tsez vd, and these are hard to dis- 
tinguish from the corresponding forms of dzdtseare tsiamu, tsetsl, 
etc. Of verbs that may be really called irregular the follow- 
ing six are the commonest : 

id. Pres. 



Subj. Pres. 


Part. Past 

dare to give (Latin dare) — 




si dau 





si dai 





si da 

si da 




si ddmii 




si datsi 


dau, da 



si da 

si da 


to take (Latin levare)- 





si I'au 





si I'ai 





si I'a 

si I'a 




si lomu 




si loatsi 


I'au, I'a 



si I'a 

si I'a 

stare to stand (Latin stare)- 





si stall 





si stai 

sta, stei 




si sta 

si sta 




si stdmji 




si statsi 


stall, sta 



si sta 

si sta 



Qd. Pres. 



Subj. Pres. 


Part. Past. 

heare to drink ( 

^Latin bibere) — 




si beau 





si beai 





si bea 

si bea 




si be mil 




si bet si 


beau, bea 



si bea 

si bea 

vreare to want, 

to like (Latin velle) — 




si voiu 





si vrei 




si va 




si vremvi 




si vretsi 




si va 

yineare, yinire 

to come 

(Latin venire)- 





si yinu, 

yinitu, vinitH 




si yin'i 





si yind 

si yind 




si vinim 




si vinitsi 





si yind 

si yind 

Throughout this 

verb the v and y 

are interchangeable 

except in the preterite, and with the dropping of the unaccented 
i one gets forms hke vn'am or 7i'am for yin'iam or vineam. 

Passive and Reflexive 

In all verbs that are transitive these may be formed by 
putting the pronouns mi, ii, si, nd, vd and si in front of the 
corresponding persons of the verb, e.g. 

mi spelu, I am washed, or I wash myself. 

But in addition there is another kind of reflexive which 
is formed by putting the pronouns n', is, sh, nd, vd and sh 
in front of the persons of the verb. This is used when one 
does something which one imagines will be to one's advan- 
tage or disadvantage, e.g. 

niveasta va n' ti adarii, I will make you my bride ; 
«' speia stran'ile, I am washing my clothes ; but speliX stran'ile, 
I am washing; the clothes. 



Vlach syntax is very simple and the language is paratactic 
and not syntactic. That is subordinate or dependent clauses 
except of the most ordinary kind are rare. They even prefer 
to say — 

akatsd di ghrapseashte, he starts and -mites, instead of akatsd 
ird si ghrdpseaskd, he starts to ^vrite. 

Consequenth' conditional clauses are not complicated, and 
only the simplest forms are in use. Remote possibihty is 
indicated thus (we take the examples from a Samarina folk-tale 
published by Papahagi in Basme Aromdne, pp. 490, 491) : 

S aveai puil'lu hrisusit ka tine altu nu vai eara tu lume. 
If you were to have the golden bird, there would not be 
another like you in the world. 

Ka tine altu nu vai eara si avurii tine Mushata-Lohlui. 
There would not be another like you, if you were to have the 
Beautiful One of the World. 

S avearim nifigd vdrd ndoi poate vrea mi satur. 
If I were to have another one or two, perhaps I would be 

The Dialects 

Like all languages Mach di\-ide5 into man}' dialects, but 
it is not easy to draw any hard and fast line between anj^ two 
and to say that one pecuharity occurs in one region and 
nowhere else. The speech of one region shades ofi into that 
of another and the prommciation varies from individual to 
indi\-idual. Still working on broad lines di^-isions may be 
made. In the East about Seres there seems to be no particular 
dialect and this is not surprising, for the Machs here have come 
from man}' different \-illages. Only in Rhodope do the 
Gramosteani seem to have preser\'ed their own dialect. In 
the ^leglen there is a peculiar dialect, ver\' much under 
Bulgarian influence, which links on the one hand to Roumanian 
proper and on the other to "Vlach. But of this region as also 
of the Seres district and of the Farsherots we have no personal 


knowledge and our information is drawn mainly from the 
works of Weigand. In the West we may divide the Vlachs 
into three groups. The Northern group begins round 
Monastir and passes through Okliridha to j\Iuskopoi'e and the 
Albanian border. Of this we ha\'e some, but no deep personal 
knowledge. The Central group is represented by Neveska 
and Klisura, where we have a fair knowledge of the local 
dialect. The Southern group splits up into several others : 
(i) the Verria villages, (2) the Olympus Vlachs, (3) the Pindus 
villages reaching from Samarina to Turia, (4) Metsovo and the 
Zaghori, (5) the Aspropotamos Vlachs, all those south of Turia 
and Metsovo and including Malakasi, Kornu, Siraku, Kalarites, 
Gardista and Halik'i. Of these districts we know the first, 
the third and the fourth well, especially the third, but we have 
only a moderate knowledge of the second and very little of 
the fifth. In the following accounts of the dialects of these 
regions where our own knowledge is at fault we have based 
our remarks on the researches of Weigand. 

The North 

Between the North and the South in general the following 
differences are constant : 
The North says — 

lipseashte, it must, for prinde, 

esku for h'iu, eshti for h'ii, 

va si for vai in the future of verbs, 

shd and sd for shi and si, 

ak'ikdsesku, I understand, for dtik'esku, 

aistu, this, for aestu, 

mine for eu with verbs, e.g. mine esku for eu h'iu. 

Monastir-Krushevo District. — Here the marks of the 
dialect are : 

very little difference between a and a, e.g. land, mdnd, fdntdnd, 

shtshii for shtii and eshishii for eshti, etc. 
tsi in the plural becomes tsd, e.g. mnltsd, muntsd, alantsd, 

altsd, etc. 
Greek sounds such as th, dh, gh, are not well pronounced and 

become h' , d and g. 


GoPESH-MoLOViSHTE. — Here the peculiarities are : 

the use of g' for y, g'ipiu for yipiu, g'inii for yinu, ag'ine for 

ayine, and even in Greek words g'atni for yatni 

doctor, g'ilie glass for yilie ; 
of zh for dzh, e.g. zhone for dzJione, zhoku for dzhoku, 

azhungu for adzhimgu, etc. ; 
of ^ for (?^, e.g. zud for tf^wa, avzdm for avdzdm, vizin 

for vidzui, etc. 

The article in the masculine and neuter is both id and /ff ; 
the former occurs after two consonants, e.g. 

lukrul, preftul, lemnul, but barbatlu, kallu, Greklu, etc. 

Okhridha-Lunka. — Here the main features are : 

d for e after hissing sounds and r, e.g. moashdle for moashele, 

matsdle for matsele, etc. ; 
an extra vowel is often inserted between two consonants, 

especially when one of them is r or /, e.g. kaluguru for 

kalugru, hiktiru for lukru, kdsenu for ksenu, garambo for 

gambro, etc. 

T/jg Centre 

Neveska and Klisura. — Here Greek influence on the 
pronunciation begins. Thus we have : 

nd for fit, alandd for alantd, munde for mimte ; 

Tig for nk, ingrunare for inkrunare, in gasd for in kasd, and thus 

a confusion arises between ningd near and ninkd again ; 
mb for mp, skumbu for sktimpu, m bade for m /^a^^, imblinU for 

In the present indicative in the verbs of the third con- 
jugation the accent in the first and second persons plural 
falls not on the final syllable as elsewhere, but on the pen- 
ultimate, e.g. 

fdtsim, dutsim, frdndzim, spunim, depunim, etc. 

Here too one first hears as one goes from north to south 
eu or io for mine. 

But of course since this district is on the border line between 
the two big regions both northern and southern forms can be 
used, for instance both ak'ikdsesku and duk'esku are in use. 


The South 

The Verria Villages. — Here the dialect is mainly that 
of Avdhela about which more is said below. 

The Olympus Vlachs. — Here we have a kind of lisp 
and for 

tsh we get ts, fitsoru for fitshorii, fetsu for fetshu, etc. ; 
sh we get s, si for shi, isire for ishire, etc. ; 
dzh we get dz, dzone for dzhone, dzoku for dzhoku, etc. ; 
zh we get z, Kozani for Kozhani, etc. 

On the other hand before i and e ts and dz sometimes almost 

become tsh and dzh, e.g. 

atshia for atsia, tshem for tsem, fatshem for fdtsem, dzheand for 
dzeand, tradzhi for tvadzl, etc. 

It js probable that this lisp of the Olympus Vlachs is due 
to the very strong Greek influence amongst them. The Modern 
Greek in most districts cannot pronounce sounds such as tsh, 
sh, dzh, zh, etc., and we have heard this in a native of Samarina 
who was for twenty-five years continuously in Athens having 
left his home when a boy of eight. He came back to his village 
for the summer and though he could talk Vlach perfectly, could 
not say sh, tsh, dzh and zh ; he would say sedu for shedu, dzone 
for dzhone and so on. Since this peculiarity also occurs amongst 
the Aspropotamos Vlachs who have all been living for the last 
thirty years within the kingdom of Greece where education 
in Greek is nominally compulsory, it seems at least reasonable 
to attribute it to the conquering influence of Modern Greek. 

The PiNDUS Villages around Samarina split up into 
two groups. The first consists of Smiksi, Avdhela, Perivoli, 
Turia, Ameru and Baieasa and probably too of some of the 
villages lying between Turia and Malakasi. The second 
consists of Furka, Samarina, Briaza, Armata, Padza and 

Some features are common to both these groups. These 
are : 

The survival of the perfect subjunctive, e.g. 

furim, avearim, bdgarim, skidarim, akdtsarim, videarim, 
vrearim, yinearim, ptearim, agudearim, durn'arim, 
vindearim, loarim, etc. 


The second person singular of the preterite in the third 
conjugation is accented on the first syllable, e.g. 

spusishi for spuseshi^ fedtshisht for fitsishi, plimsishl for 
plimsSshi, dusishi for duseshi, vinishi for vinishi, deddishi 
for dideshi, etc. 

But the survival of tseshi and atsesin for duseshi and 
aduseshl shows that this was not always so. 

The dropping of unaccented i and u is very strong and the 
change of unaccented e and to ^ and i: also very marked, 

skdndrd ior skdndurd, Vepri for I'epiive, iard for eard, etc. 

Unaccented a and a except when initial become a, e.g. 

aldgai, aldksesku. 

Unaccented a drops, mkai and figai for mdkai and mditgai. 
I after ts and ^2: becomes a, mundzd, altsd, etc. 
The differences between the two groups are that in the 
AvDHELA group they say — 

yiPigiis for twenty, as usual. 

Before /', d and t in the combinations dz and ts drop, e.g. munzl'i, 
frasl'i ; and in some cases the s becomes z, e.g. frazl'i, 
sozl'i ; and it even infects words with the article le, vdzlc 
the cows, for vdtsdle, biserizle the churches, etc. 

a' em, a'ets, a' earn, etc., are commonly used for avem, avets, 
aveam, etc. 

At Samarina and the villages allied to it — 

The passion for d is very strong, pdldthiri, pdrdkdlsesku, etc. 
Before I' the d and t of dz and is are still very slightly heard. 
For yihgits they say yigindz and this is at times abbreviated to 

Mdkare to eat, for mdhgare, 
Punye and fraPlye are used for punte, frdnte. 

For the first person plural of the perfect there is another 
old form now almost obsolete and only used in a few cases, 
as adrasini, fudzisim, vinisini, vidzusim, kddzusim. This was 
probably a pluperfect such as occurs in Roumanian where we 
have adunasem, idcusem, etc. 


In the Zaghori and at Metsovo the Greek influence in 


nd, ng and mHor rtt, nk and mp is not so marked, 
ts and dz remain unaffected before /', 
fitsesht, dideshl, etc., are the regular forms. 

The AsPROPOTAMOS Vlachs have the same lisping pro- 
nunciation as their kinsfolk on Olympus, at least those with 
whom we have spoken had. Otherwise there is little to be 
said about their dialect, for no one so far has studied it. One 
noticeable word is letu or litesku I go out, which is used for 
esu [exeo) ; this has the infinitives litire and liteare, the present 
is letu, letsi, leate, litem, litets, letu, the imperfect liteam, the 
preterite litii. 

But one peculiarity of the Aspropotamos and Metsovo 
districts is that some words of Latin origin still survive which 
are unknown elsewhere among the Vlachs, e.g. 

sdnu well, Latin sanus ; 

ndmal'u an animal (used of sheep and cattle), Latin animal — 

these two words occur at Samarina as well ; 
intselegu I understand, Latin intelligo ; 
negrn black (of coffee only), Latin nigey (cf. the place-name 

K'atra N'agra at Samarina) ; 
nkredu I trust, Latin incredo ; 
sintu I feel, Latin sentio ; 
amo now, Latin inodo ; 

and a few words of Slavonic origin, e.g. 
pi gov downhill. 

All these are known in Roumanian, and it is curious that 
they should still occur in a region where Greek is steadily 
advancing. Most Pindus Vlachs count and reckon in Greek, 
because their arithmetic was learnt at the Greek school, and 
they at times speak a tongue that is really Greek tinged with 
Vlach, as 

Easie pramatikos una apofasi teliusitd, 

It is practically a settled determination ; 

and we get words such as 

efthinitate cheapness, aldksimindu a change of clothing, 
aldksesku I change, and so I dress, from the Greek dWfi^w 
and its opposite disldksesku I undress ; 


aposiusesku I am tired, from the Greek cnToa-Talvo), dnoa-raaa, 

and its opposite dispostusesku I cease to be tired, I rest ; 
uspitlik'e friendship, from the Vlach oaspe, oaspitsi with the 
Turkish termination liq. 

Perhaps the reader will be inclined to agree with the old 
woman who told us — 

" Limba anoastrd easte ka ma anapudhd di tide. 
Our language is the most upside down of all." 


Paramith shteam, paramith aspush, 
Nu shtiu kum fetshu, ma nu v arash. 

I knew a tale, I have told a tale, 

How well I do not know, but I have not deceived you. 

Conclusion of Vlach Folktale 

OF the early history of the Vlachs no detailed account 
is possible ; all the Byzantine and mediaeval histories 
are written from the towns, the plains and the coasts, 
and what was happening in the hills is generally not recorded, 
even if it were known to the writers themselves. So as long 
as the Vlachs remained in the hills of the interior they were 
outside the sphere of history and wherever or if ever they 
descended from the hills and settled in the plains they easily 
escaped notice by becoming absorbed into the surrounding 

As early as the sixth century a.d, the existence of Vlachs 
in the Balkan peninsula may be inferred from the list of forts 
and fortified towns recorded by Procopius ; for among a 
number of place names including some clearly Italian in 
soimd like Kastello Novo, we find others such as Skeptekasas, 
Burgualtu, Lupofantana and Gemellomuntes which are un- 
mistakably Vlach, showing that by that period if not earlier 
Vlach was a separate language among the Romance tongues. 
Later in the same century the first Vlach words as opposed to 
place names are recorded by Theophylactus. In 579 a.d. 
Commentiolus with a Byzantine army was pursuing the 
Avars in the passes of the Balkans. The pack on one of the 
baggage animals began to slip at a time when the muleteer in 

charge was walking some distance ahead. A shout of ' ' Retorna ' ' 



in the native dialect intended for the muleteer alone was 
misinterpreted at large as a signal for retreat, and the army 
"turned back" in confusion thinking the Avars were upon 
them. Theophanes, who tells the same tale, in place of " Retorna," 
gives the words " Torna, torna fratre " which add more point 
to the story and are better Vlach. " Torna, torna fratre " 
almost certainly refers to the baggage and means " It is slipping, 
brother," and not " Turn back " which is the usual interpreta- 
tion given. It is also possible that " se torna " a reflexive form 
should be read in place of " retorna." 

After the sixth century there is a long interval before 
\^achs are again referred to ; it is possible perhaps that 
Latin or Romance names such as Paganus and Sabinus among 
the Bulgarian chieftains of the eighth century imply a Vlach 
element, but no certainty is possible. About the year 976 a.d. 
we read in the pages of Cedrenus that David the brother of 
Samuel Tsar of Bulgaria was slain between Kastoria and 
Presba at a spot called the Fair Oaks by certain wandering 
Vlachs. This is the first mention of Vlachs as such, but soon 
afterwards references to them and mention of them become 
frequent, and we find several large districts called after their 
name. Great Vlachia for several centuries was the name 
given to Thessaly and Southern Macedonia ; and Little 
Vlachia comprised parts of Acarnania, iEtolia and Epirus. 
In both these cases however the Vlach population was pro- 
bably confined to the hills in the main and occupied the same 
general position as to-day. Similarly in Dalmatia which 
falls outside the scope of the present work there were two 
districts of Morlachs known as Great and Little Vlachia 
respectively. How much the Vlachs were involved in the 
Bulgarian empire under Sam.uel can only be conjectured ; 
but it is probable that at least they fought in the Bulgarian 
armies and secured their share of plunder. When the Byzan- 
tines surprised the army of the Tsar at Okhridha in 10 17, a 
few years after Samuel's death there is perhaps a hint of 
Vlach troops among the Bulgarian forces. When the surprise 
occurred a shout, it is said, arose among the Bulgarians of 
" Bg^sm n T^sap " which according to Xylander is " Fugite 


O Cffisar." It is difficult to explain the existence of any 
form of Latin or Romance speech among the Bulgarian troops 
except by the presence of Vlach allies. 

In the Strategikon of Kekaumenos there is a description of 
the Vlachs in Thessaly around Trikkala and Larissa in the 
eleventh century a.d. Their manner of life then was similar 
in certain respects to what it is now ; for from April to 
September their flocks and families lived in the mountains of 
Bulgaria, which then included all Macedonia. Morally they 
are described as treacherous, faithless towards all mankind and 
with no fear of God in them ; as cowards with the hearts of 
hares, and brave only through cowardice. This is precisely 
the character one would expect them to have in the towns 
which presumably sufferedconsiderabl}^ from their depredations. 
Thessaly was then full of Vlachs, for Kekaumenos mentions 
that a river near Pharsala flowed through the midst of Vlach 
villages. We also hear of the appointment of an offtcial to be 
the ruler of the Vlachs in the province of Hellas. 

Barely a hundred years later we have another description 
in the journal of the Rabbi Benjamin of Tudela, who travelled 
by land up the eastern coast of Greece about 1160. 

" Sinon Potamo or Zeitun is a day's journey further; 
R. Sh'lomo and R. Ja'acob are the principal of its fifty Jewish 
inhabitants. Here are the confines of Wallachia, a country 
of which the inhabitants are called Vlachi. They are as 
nimble as deer and descend from their mountains into the plains 
of Greece committing robberies and making booty. Nobody 
ventures to make war upon them, nor can any king bring 
them to submission, and they do not profess the christian 
faith. Their names are of Jewish origin and some say they 
have been Jews which nation they call brothers. Whenever 
they meet an Israelite they rob, but never kill him as they do 
the Greeks. They profess no religious creed." 

Zeitun is the modern Lamia, so the confines of Wallachia 
were the range of Othrys in the south of Thessaly. Jewish 
names such as Simeon, David, and Samuel are found at the 
time among the Bulgarians, and may have occurred also among 
the Vlachs, especially as the races were then closely united. 


For the century between these two accounts there are a 
few references in Anna Comnena : The Emperor Alexius on 
his march into Thessaly passed close to " a hill called in the 
common tongue of the nations Kissavos " and then " descended 
to Exeva, a Vlach town situated near Andronia." Kissavos 
is a second name for Mt. Ossa which still survives in ordinary 
use, but Exeva cannot be identified. Elsewhere the same 
author notes in connection with iEnos that " some of the 
Bulgarians and those who are nomadic folk are commonly 
called Vlachs." Pudilius is named as a prominent \^ach 
leader in Thrace, and the Vlachs are mentioned as acting as 
guides to the Comans in the Balkan mountains. 

Towards the end of the twelfth century the Vlachs suddenly 
come into prominence. For some time past the state of the 
B\'zantine Empire had been becoming more precarious, and 
when in 1186 in preparation for his marriage the Emperor 
Isaac increased the taxes and took toll of the flocks and herds, 
the Bulgarians and Vlachs in the north promptly rose in open 
rebellion. The leaders of the rising were two brothers Peter 
and Asan by name and Vlachs by race according to Nicetas 
the contemporary historian. From the very first they appear 
to have aimed at an independent kingdom, for we read that 
Peter crowned himself with a golden chaplet and assumed 
scarlet buskins, the sign of Byzantine sovereignty. Their 
followers were roused to a pitch of religious frenzy ; it was 
commonly believed that God himself was on the side of the 
\'lachs and that Demetrius, the martyr and patron saint of 
Salonica had left his shrine to help their cause. The first 
attempts of the rebels ended in disaster ; they were defeated 
by the imperial troops and driven across the Danube like the 
Gadarene swine in the Gospel to quote Nicetas' own simile. 
Returning across the river reinforced by Scythian bands they 
met with another defeat in the following year, but the victorious 
general being superseded owing to jealousy the fortune of war 
changed. An army under John Cantacuzenus who had im- 
prudently encamped in the open plain, was attacked at night 
by Peter and Asan. The surprise was complete, the army 
was utterly routed and immense booty fell into the hands of 


the Vlachs, Eventually Isaac took the held in person, and 
making Adrianople his base advanced with a picked force 
of cavalry against the Vlachs. Nicetas who seems to have 
been present gives some account of the battle which was 
probably typical of the Vlach and Bulgarian tactics. Sending 
off their|jbooty to the hills, the Vlachs received the Emperor's 
onset with volleys of spears and arrows. Then retreating 
a short distance they halted and repeated the process, until 
they had enticed their opponents on to rough ground when 
they drew their swords and fell on them with shouts and yells. 
The result of the day was unfavourable for the Emperor who 
though escaping actual defeat had to withdraw to Adrianople. 
In later engagements Isaac seems to have met with more 
success, but no decisive victory had been gained when the 
approach of the third crusade made a temporary peace prudent. 
Although Frederick Barbarossa before starting had secured 
permission from the Emperor to march through Bulgaria and 
Thrace, every obstacle was put in his way and relations 
between the two were strained to the utmost. Peter and 
Asan in this crisis offered Barbarossa the aid of 40,000 men, 
and expressed their willingness to hold their kingdom as his 
lieges, but their offer was refused on the grounds that the 
crusade was against infidels and not cliristians. As soon 
as the crusaders had passed on their way to the east Isaac 
reopened the war against the Vlachs and Bulgarians. In 
the interval Peter and Asan had repaired the hill forts and the 
new campaign went in favour of the Vlachs. In 1192 a 
Byzantine army retreating through a narrow pass was utterly 
routed and the Emperor almost captured. This battle was a 
turning point in the war for the Vlachs now ventured to 
attack the towns, Anchialos was sacked, Varna captured and 
Sardica partially destroyed. The loss of a second army in 
1 1 94 forced Isaac to look to the king of Hungary for aid, and 
early in the next year together with his brother Alexius he set 
out on a fmal campaign. Treachery now came to the aid of 
the Vlachs, for Alexius deposed and blinded his brother and 
the projected expedition was abandoned. The new emperor 
Alexius offered terms to the Vlachs, which were indignantly 


rejected and Asan raiding the country around Seres, retired 
with numbers of captives in safety to Bulgaria. Among these 
captives, says Nicetas, was a priest well skilled in the Vlach 
tongue who foretold to Asan that he would soon be murdered. 
This prophecy was fulfilled by a friend of Asan's called Ivan, 
who seduced the sister of Asan's wife and on being discovered 
nuirdered Asan to save himself. Soon afterwards Peter was 
also murdered and there was civil war between the \^achs and 
Bulgarians, which ended in Ivan flying for safety to Alexius 
who made him governor on the Balkan frontier and in Johan- 
nitius a younger brother of Peter and Asan becoming sole king 
of the Bulgarians and Viae lis. 

The reign of Johannitius, Joannice or Johanizza as he is 
variously called began in 1196 or 1197 and lasted beyond the 
Frankish conquest of Constantinople till 1207. Shortly after 
his accession Chryses, a Vlach in the Byzantine service who had 
taken no part in the revolt of Peter and Asan and was governor 
of Strumnitsa suddenly revolted. He seized Prosakon a 
ruined fort on a lofty cliff overhanging the Vardar, quickly 
repaired the walls and awaited the attack of Alexius. After 
a long and stubborn siege and a successful sally of the Vlachs 
in which the Byzantine camp was plundered, Alexius recog- 
nised Chryses as ruler of Prosakon and Strumnitsa together 
with the surrounding country. Thus in 11 99 a semi-inde- 
pendent state under a Vlach chief and with a certain Vlach 
population, how large it is impossible to say, was established 
on the Vardar. The striking success of Chryses inspired Ivan 
to revolt from his new allegiance in the following year. His 
attempt was however less successful, for deceived by Alexius' 
terms of peace he rashly came to Constantinople and was 
immediately thrown into prison. He had however previously 
routed an imperial army and captured its general Kamytses, 
and this indirectly led to the second revolt of Chryses. As 
soon as Ivan began to come to terms with Alexius, the captive 
general was removed to the camp of Johannitius who was 
making the best of the occasion by plundering far and wide. 
Chryses then paid the ransom asked for Kamytses, and mean- 
while Alexius came to terms with Johannitius and confiscated 


Kamytses' property, and so to recover the money spent 
Chryses with the ransomed general embarked on further 
conquests. They easily overcame Prilapus and Pelagonia 
and Kamytses advancing from the north entered Thessaly 
by the pass of Tempe. Details of this expedition which may 
have been an attempt to raise the Vlachs of the south are 
unfortunately not recorded, but the final result was failure, 
Kamytses lost all his new possessions and Chryses was deprived 
of Strumnitsa. From these minor revolts we may return to 

Early in his reign Johannitius had conceived the idea of 
finding support in the west, and had despatched with this 
intent embassies to Rome to appeal for recognition. The 
first embassy had miscarried and had been intercepted by 
Byzantine officials, but one successfully reached Rome just 
after Innocent HI had ascended the papal throne. The appeals 
of Johannitius were graciously received by the Pope, who 
despatched in reply an answer by the Bishop of Brundusium. 
This was the beginning of a series of letters between the Pope 
and the king, which have been preserved in the Gesta Inno- 
centi. In these letters J ohannitius in making his various appeals 
lays stress on the Roman origin of the Vlachs, a claim which 
the Pope admits and proceeds to grant as the king requests 
formal recognition of his kingdom and the privilege of coining 
money. These negotiations had already taken place when the 
fourth crusade began and the Latins arrived at Constantinople 
ostensibly at first to place the young Alexius on the throne. 
It may safely be presumed that Johannitius expected his 
claim as King of Wallachia and Bulgaria to be recognised by 
the crusaders ; if so he was disappointed for in the pages 
of Villehardouin we read how all did fealty to the young Alexius 
excepting one John of Wallachia and Bulgaria who had con- 
quered nearly half the land on the west side of the straits of 
St George. The accession of Baldwin, Count of Flanders, to 
the Byzantine throne a few months later brought no change 
in the Frankish attitude towards the Wallachian king ; an 
embassy from Johannitius was informed that their master must 
sue for pardon, and touch the imperial footstool with his 


forehead in token of submission. So with a Latin Emperor in 
Constantinople the Vlach and Bulgarian war continued only 
on a larger scale than before, as Johannitius in addition to 
40,000 Comans was now helped by the Greeks. From the 
war that followed we can estimate Johannitius' qualities as a 

In a battle outside Adrianople the crusaders were utterly 
defeated, Dandolo the blind Doge of Venice and Villehardouin 
by a masterly retreat at night saved a portion of the army, 
but the Emperor Baldwin was captured and the appeals of 
Innocent III failed to secure the release of the royal captive, 
who died or was done to death a few months later in Bulgaria. 
Shortly afterwards Seres fell into the hands of the Vlachs and 
was destroyed ; and early in 1206 at Rusium the crusaders 
lost more than a hundred knights. Johannitius' policy of 
destroying all the cities that surrendered soon alienated his 
Greek allies. A new ally however arose in the person of 
Theodore Lascaris who by threatening Constantinople from the 
east enabled Johannitius to do as he wished in the west until 
in 1207 the crusaders made peace with Lascaris and so became 
free to oppose Johannitius in force. Henry had succeeded 
Baldwin as emperor at Constantinople, and the Marquis 
Boniface at Salonica was ruler not only of the district round 
the city, but of South Macedonia and Thessaly as well. These 
two were to combine forces and undertake a joint expedition 
against the Vlachs. It was arranged that in late summer 
they should meet at Adrianople, but the meeting never took 
place, as the Marquis Boniface was killed by a roving Bul- 
garian band. His head was cut off and sent in triumph to 
Johannitius. In the same year Johannitius himself was found 
stabbed outside Salonica ; he was probably murdered by one 
of his own men, but the pious inhabitants of the city attributed 
his death to the lance of St Demetrius. 

Johannitius was succeeded by his sister's son Borilas 
who reigned until 1218 when he was driven out by a son of 
Asan who was known as Johannitius Asan or Johannitius 
II. Johannitius II, whose capital was the Bulgarian Tirnova, 
held the throne for twenty-three years and by employing 


diplomacy as well as war, and by using the reviving power of the 
Greeks to counteract the Latins extended his boundaries in all 
directions. In the south his power reached to the borders of 
Thessaly or Great Vlachia, in the west to Illyria and in the 
east to Seres. On his death in 1241 his kingdom soon fell to 
pieces ; there was no heir of full age to succeed, and twenty 
years later the kingdom of the Vlachs and Bulgarians lost all 
its former importance. 

It is perhaps impossible to decide the relative position of 
the Vlach and Bulgarian races in the kingdom of the Asans. 
It may however be considered certain that the Vlachs were in a 
minority, and that there was a continual tendency for them to 
be merged into the Bulgarians. The emphasis laid by the 
rulers on their Vlach origin was probably due to the exigencies 
of foreign politics and a desire to obtain help from Rome ; 
it does not necessarily imply that within the kingdom itself 
the Vlachs were either numerous or powerful. While the 
Vlach and Bulgarian kingdom in the north was rapidly de- 
clining the Vlachs in the mountains of Epirus and Thessaly 
suddenly acquired political importance. 

At the division of the Byzantine Empire, when Great Vlachia 
and Salonica had fallen to the share of Boniface, Little Vlachia 
or Epirus, iEtolia and Acarnania had remained Greek, and its 
mixed population of Greeks, Albanians and Vlachs united 
in their hatred of the Franks were ruled by Michael Angelus 
as despot of Epirus. Shortly after the death of Boniface the 
kingdom of Salonica declined, the Greek rulers in the west 
extended their borders eastwards, and a new independent 
state with a population mainly Vlach not long afterwards 
arose. John Ducas, a natural son of the second despot married 
the heiress of Taron a hereditary Vlach chieftain, and so 
was enabled to make himself prince of a Great Vlachia with a 
capital at Hypate or Neopatras in the Spercheus valley. He 
was succeeded by his son and grandson, but in 1308 the line 
failed and Great Vlachia as an independent state ceased to 
exist ; the Spercheus valley fell into the hands of the Catalans, 
and Thessaly was annexed to the emperor at Constantinople. 
In 1334 Cantacuzenus records that the Thessalian mountaineers 


who o\Mied no king, Albanians, Malakasians, Buians and 
Mesarites, up to the number of twelve thousand submitted to 
the emperor Andronicus HI because of winter. In 1350 
Little Vlachia was conquered by the Servians, and its history 
from then till the coming of the Turks is one of incessant 
warfare. Lists of battles and rulers are recorded but of the 
fate of its mixed population no details have been preserved. 

Thus in the fourteenth century generally the history of the 
Vlachs fails and there is a long gap until afLer the Turkish 
conquest. In the interval it is true there are several notices 
of Vlach troops employed against Dushan and in other wars ; 
a few individual Vlachs are also from time to time mentioned 
such as Urban who cast cannon for Mohammed at the siege 
of Constantinople, but for the history of the race as a whole 
there is little or no information. Their fortunes after the 
conquest have been told in previous chapters, and it only 
remains to consider the vexed question of their origin. 

It was generally recognised in antiquity that the Vlachs 
were connected with Roman colonists ; and, as we have just 
seen, the claim of Johannitius King of Bulgaria and Wallachia 
to be of Roman blood met with immediate recognition from 
Pope Innocent III. This instance, if it stood alone, might 
perhaps be explained away as a convenient political fiction 
acceptable at the time to both sides alike, but no such solution 
is possible in view of other evidence. Writing in 1150 some 
fifty years earlier than the papacy of Innocent, the Presbyter 
of Dioclea had expressly identified the Morlachs or Black 
Vlachs of Dalmatia with the Roman colonials and had trans- 
lated their name as " Nigri Latini." The same \'iew worked 
out in greater detail is to be found in the De Regno DalmaticB 
et CroaticB of Lucius of Trau who lived in the seventeenth 
century. Cinnamus centuries earlier regarded the Vlachs north 
of the Danube as Italian colonists and the fantastic derivation 
of the name Vlach from Flaccus the Roman conqueror of the 
Getse, which appears in ^Eneas Sylvius' (Pius II) description 
of Europe, may also be cited as evidence for the widespread 
belief in a Roman origin. Modern authorities have treated 
the question of origin from a somewhat different standpoint, 


and accepting a connection with Rome, which is obvious 
from the language alone, have asked what this connection is, 
and what is the relationship between the Vlachs of the Balkan 
peninsula and those north of the Danube. These further 
questions were to some extent recognised in antiquity, but 
were never fully answered. Kekaumenos believed that the 
Vlachs had come south into Thessaly, Macedonia and Epirus 
after Dacia was abandoned by the Romans, and that they 
were the descendants of the Getae and Bessi. Thus pre- 
sumably he regarded them as Romanised tribes rather than 
descendants of actual Roman colonists. Lucius on the other 
hand regards the Vlachs mainly as Roman colonists, and 
instead of a movement from north to south, believes in a 
migration in the opposite direction. Generally however those 
north of the Danube were held to be Roman colonists from 
the time of Trajan, and the origin of those in the Balkans was 
rarely separately considered. Modern opinion like ancient 
has been far from unanimous in its answers. 

The Roman colonisation of the Balkan peninsula was not 
confined to the northern half, and in the south there were the 
important Roman cities of Corinth and Patrae. Nevertheless 
though a language of Latin origin still survives to-day in the 
north, there is no trace of one in the south except for a few 
Latin words that have been adopted into modern Greek. 
This may be due to two causes ; either Roman colonisation 
was on a far larger scale in the north than in the south, or 
else what may be termed the opposition language was different 
in the two districts. As it was, both these causes were in 

It was a characteristic of the Roman Empire that in the 
east generally where Latin met Greek, Greek invariably 
prevailed. It was this that led first to the division of the 
empire and later to that of Christendom, so that it seems 
legitimate if we find a Romance language surviving in the 
east to infer that it arose in an environment which linguistically 
was not Greek. What is known from history is quite in accord- 
ance with such a conjecture. In the south from very early 
times Greek was the solo language, but in the north it was 


otherwise. From both Herodotus and Thucydides it appears 
that in the fifth century B.C. Hellenism was very partial even 
on the coasts of Macedonia, Thucydides even mentions bilingual 
tribes on the peninsula of Athos and the existence of a non- 
hellenized population presumably formed the basis of 
Demosthenes' denial that Alexander was a Hellene. By the 
time of the Roman conquest Hellenic influences had doubtless 
increased greatly and it ma}^ perhaps be assumed that Greek 
was practically the sole language on the coasts, and the chief 
language in the principal towns. Strabo nevertheless, who 
wrote in the first century a.d., records the existence of bilingual 
peoples in Western or Upper Macedonia ; the languages 
spoken are not stated, but it is almost certain that if Greek 
was one it w^as not the mother tongue. A more striking 
example perhaps is in the description of Greece which used 
commonly to be attributed to Dicaearchus ; it is there stated 
that the inhabitants of Chalcis in Eubcea were Greek and 
spoke Greek, a statement which seems meaningless unless 
the existence of another language even so far south was just 
conceivable. The Bessi afford an interesting example of 
the survival of a separate language ; they were a Thracian 
tribe who lived in the mountains of Hsemus and Rhodope 
and possessed in Strabo's time a wide reputation for robbery. 
Herodotus regards them as a division of the Satrae. Thucydides 
almost certainly referring to the same people calls them ' the 
sword-bearers,' and as Satnr in Albanian means ' knife ' 
to-day, they may have some connections with the modern 
Albanians. At the end of the fourth century a.d. the Bessi 
were converted to Christianity by Niceta of Remesiana, and 
in the following century a monk Theodosius built a monastery 
near the Jordan with four chapels in it, one of which was for 
the Bessi to worship in in their own language What this 
language was is unknown ; it may have been a form of Thracian, 
but whatever it was its survival is important as indicating 
that various languages continued in the hills. 

The fact that Greek was far from being the universal 
language in Macedonia and the northern part of the peninsula 
would undoubtedly help the spread of Latin in the interior 


and especially in the hills which were opened up first by Roman 
roads and Roman trade. As against this must be noted that 
most of the inscriptions found are in Greek, and excepting 
in the northern districts Latin inscriptions are few in number. 
It has therefore been urged that by the second century a.d. 
the peninsula was thoroughly hellenized. Epigraphical evi- 
dence however need have very little bearing on the language 
commonly spoken, for inscriptions are mostly official and 
always in the educated tongue. The epigraphical evidence for 
the Balkan peninsula in the eighteenth century for example 
would suggest that the population was almost exclusively 
Greek or Turkish. The Slav-speaking peoples might be 
recorded but the Albanians and Vlachs would escape all 
notice. For the fifth century a.d. although literature was 
nearly all in Greek there is evidence for Latin being used in 
the interior. Niceta, Bishop of Remesiana, used Latin not 
Greek ; Latin was the native tongue of Justinian who came 
from Dardania ; but a passage from Prisons is perhaps the 
best illustration of the position Latin then held. Priscus 
when in Scythia acting as envoy of Theodosius ii to Attila 
was addressed by a man in native garb in Greek, The circum- 
stance surprised him because Latin was the language used for 
communication with strangers and only the slaves from the 
coasts of Thrace and Illyria ever spoke Greek. The man in 
question happened to be a Greek who was living with the Huns. 
It is not possible to give a complete list of the Roman 
colonies and settlements in the various Balkan provinces, but 
it is nevertheless certain that their distribution if accurately 
known would not correspond with the Vlach districts to-day. 
The Vlachs as we have seen belong essentially to the hills, but 
the Roman colonies would be placed on the lower slopes or in 
the plains. The Vlachs, who are found to-day in towns that 
were once the site of Roman colonies, have only settled there 
in comparatively recent times. The view has nevertheless 
been put forward that Aemilus Paulus colonised the hills with 
Roman troops in order to guard the passes, and that the Vlach 
districts in the hills including that round Verria correspond 
with the MmilisLU settlements. Unfortunately for any such 


theory the Vlachs at Vcrria only came there after the end of 
the eighteenth century and the colonies of iEmilius are mainly 
if not entirely mythical. If the Vlachs are the actual de- 
scendants of earlier Roman colonists, some changes in position 
have to be assumed, though this in itself is no objection if the 
warlike histor}^ of the country is taken into account. A more 
serious objection arises from the general characteristics of 
Vlach life. As far back as we can trace them the Vlachs 
have been nomadic, many of their present settlements are of 
quite recent origin, and in the past there seems no doubt that 
nomadism was far more prevalent among them than it is now. 
As we have already seen, modern Vlach possesses no words 
of Latin origin for any but the bare essentials of a hut or 
house. There is strong prejudice among them against agri- 
culture or the mason's trade ; it is also noticeable that the 
Vlach words now found in modern Greek are chiefly connected 
with flocks and herds, and that the muleteering words in Greek 
such as kapistri (a halter) are largely of Latin origin. Thus 
what evidence there is, suggests that from the first the Vlachs 
have led a more or less nomadic life and have been in the main 
dependent on flocks and herds. It is therefore more than 
mere chance that their first mention in history concerns a 
muleteer. It needs but little consideration to realise that this 
is not the kind of life which the descendants of Roman colonists 
might be expected to follow. To become a shepherd in the 
first instance capital is needed ; a nomad life involves self- 
reliance, requires a long training probably from birth, 
and is perhaps the last form of life a settled population could 
adopt with success. The opposite change from a nomadic 
to a settled life is easy and is constantly taking place. The 
increase of trade, as we saw in the case of the Vlachs themselves, 
led to a great increase in settled villages during the eighteenth 
century ; a decrease in the number of flocks and herds by 
disease, war or robbery produces the same result, for the town 
is the last refuge of the nomad who has lost his flocks. It 
appears therefore on the whole probable that the Vlachs are 
in main the descendants of Romanised hill tribes, rather than 
of actual Roman colonists who would long since have been 


absorbed by the other town-dwelHng races, and in particular 
by the Greeks. This solution however involves the larger 
question, which has lately been much discussed, the origin of 
nomadism in the Balkans generalty. 

Directly to the north of the peninsula are the open plains 
of the eastern Danube ; on two sides they are enclosed by 
mountains, by the Carpathians in the west and by the Balkans 
in the south ; to the north and north-east between the moun- 
tains and the sea they join the Russian steppes which in turn 
lead to the Asian plateau. Hence from one point of view the 
plains of the Danube form a cul-de-sac for the Asiatic nomad 
tribes driven westwards into Europe from off the plateau, 
and each successive inroad would drive the one that preceded 
it closer against the hills. Thus two Turko-Tartar tribes are 
now settled in Europe ; the Magyars, who after a brief stay 
in what is now Roumania, were pushed still further west into 
their present territory, and the Bulgars who have drifted 
southwards over the Balkans, The Finns, also of Asiatic 
origin, have reached their position in a somewhat similar way 
by moving northwards to avoid the mountains. Are the 
Vlachs also an Asiatic tribe, and do the traces of nomadic life 
that survive among them point to a former home on the Asian 
plateau ? That their language is Romance is in itself of 
little consequence, for the Bulgars are an example near at hand 
of a race that has changed its language. In connection with 
such a theory it is conceivable that anthropological evidence 
alone could give a definite answer, but apart from the doubt 
among anthropologists as to how environment and inter- 
marriage affect physical types, evidence of an anthropological 
kind for the Vlachs is very meagre. It has frequently been said 
that the Vlachs have an Italian appearance, but the only state- 
ment on the question which, as far as we know, can possibly 
possess any scientific value is that of Mr. Sokolis the Greek 
doctor at Metsovo in 1861. In his judgment the Vlachs are 
neither of a Hellenic nor Albanian type, but more akin to 
Slavs. This however, if true, may easily be a peculiarity of the 
Metsovo Vlachs, for the country round is noted for the number 
of Slavonic place names that still exist. We would describe 


the Vlachs as a race of medium size and slight build ; with 
often a white skin and high complexion as compared with the 
olive tint of the Greeks. The hair is rarely black, usually dark 
brown and sometimes quite fair especially in youth ; and many 
of the children with fair hair, rosy cheeks and blue eyes could 
pass unnoticed in northern Europe. At the same time there 
is a great variety of types and the features vary extremely ; 
in some faces they are clean cut and refined, in others broad and 
heavy. Such personal impressions however have very little 
scientific value without being supported by measurements 
and statistics ; for the exceptional types by contrast make 
a deeper impression on the memory than the normal. Failing 
adequate anthropological evidence it is perhaps impossible 
to refute the theory of a Turko-Tartar or Asiatic origin. It 
is certainly true that central Asia is a great centre of nomadic 
tribes who have two definite homes, one for summer and one 
for winter ; and that tribes from that quarter have come into 
Europe in all ages seems to admit of little doubt. Asia 
probably was the home of the Scythians, and possibly also of 
" the proud Hippemolgoi that drink mare's milk," who are 
mentioned in the opening lines of the thirteenth Iliad. But 
though such a theory cannot be refuted, it need not for that 
reason be true ; it assumes that central Asia is the home of all 
nomadism and neglects the possibility or rather probability 
that it is indigenous elsewhere ; it tends also to argue from 
similarity of custom to similarity of race, neglecting to inquire 
into the important question of environment. To make any 
such theory of external origin necessary for the Vlachs, it would 
have to be shown that though they possessed nomadic customs 
they were living in a land where nomadism was impossible. 
Yet the possibility of nomadism in the Balkans is proved by the 
Vlachs themselves ; and to some extent a nomadic life is 
essential to all Balkan shepherds, who have to seek different 
pastures for winter and summer. Thus the Greek and Albanian 
shepherds live a life similar in many ways to the Vlachs ; 
but the peculiarity of the nomadism among the Vlachs is that 
it is more developed, extends outside the shepherd class and 
seems once to have included the whole race. 


There is therefore no necessity on the grounds of nomadism 
alone to look for the ancestors of the Vlachs as far afield as 
Asia or even outside the Balkan peninsula. They can be found 
in the shepherd tribes of the hills who compelled to move down 
each winter to the lower slopes for pasture would come under 
the influence of the Roman colonists and so become Romanised. 
Here however the question arises of the connection between 
the Vlachs of the Balkans and the inhabitants of modern 
Roumania. According to one theory, which believes that 
when the Romans left Dacia all Roman settlers were withdrawn, 
the modern Roumanians are the results of a later movement 
from the Balkans northwards. An opposite theory to this 
is that the Roumanians are autochthonous Romanised Dacians 
and the Balkan Vlachs the result of a movement to the south. 
Both these theories, which as we have seen were suggested in 
antiquity, have been fully developed by several modern 
writers. The truth in all probability lies between these two 
extreme views. When the Romans left Dacia it is most 
improbable that all the Roman settlers and Romanised tribes 
withdrew also, and on the other hand it is most probable that 
the factors that Romanised Dacia were also operative in the 
Balkans. Thus both the Vlachs in the Balkans, and the 
Roumanians in Roumania are in the main indigenous, though 
at different periods the centre of the race has shifted. To- 
day it is north of the Danube, in the middle ages it was to the 
south, and earlier still it may have been nearer its present 
position. We may therefore conclude that the Balkan Vlachs 
are for the most part the Romanised tribes of the Balkan 
peninsula, reinforced perhaps at times by tribes from over the 
Danube. Thus the Vlachs in the west would be for the most 
part Romano- Ulyrians, in the south they might be Atha- 
manians or other hill tribes mentioned by Strabo, but in the east 
and along the central mountain range there would be a large 
Thracian and Bessian element. 

Macedonia became a Roman province in 146 B.C. and the 
Romanisation of the hills probably began early. In the fifth 
century a.d., as we have seen, the use of Latin had extended to 
the native tribes ; then in quick succession came a scries of 


invasions which resulted in a Slav-speaking district in the 
centre of the peninsula. The effect of this was important ; 
the Vlachs in the hills of the interior became probably more 
isolated than ever before from the Greek-speaking districts 
on the coasts, and from the Byzantine towns. The Slav and 
Bulgarian conquests have perhaps more than anything else 
preserved Vlach as a language by delaying the inevitable 
advance of Hellenism. Greek influence on Vlach apparently 
did not begin till after the Slavs themselves had begun to give 
way to Greeks, and in fact not until the trade revival in the 
eighteenth century did Hellenism spread rapidly among the 
Vlach districts in the hills. This is clear from the Greek and 
Slav loan words that are used in Vlach to-day ; the Slav words 
belong to an early stratum and contain such words as maikd 
mother, but the Greek words more recently acquired are 
largely words for abstract ideas, reading, writing, and other 
refinements of civilisation. 

Though much of the history of the Balkan Vlachs is obscure, 
one fact stands out clearly, that from the time when they first 
appear in history they have been allowing themselves to be 
absorbed gradually by the larger nations that surround them. 
The natural increase of the hill population, the Turkish con- 
quest and the slow advance of education and trade have all 
been causes that have retarded their extinction. Neverthe- 
less their numbers have been steadily, but slowly diminishing, 
and they themselves have helped this by their lack of national 
feeling, their dispersion and their power of self-effacement. 
Sir Arthur Evans has found abundant traces in the north about 
Uskub and throughout Dardania and Dalmatia that the Slavs 
have there absorbed a Vlach-speaking people, and the same 
process is going on in the Meglen to-day. In the west the 
Farsherots are gradually becoming Albanians. Finally in the 
south it is well known that Greece herself has drawn into 
Hellenism large numbers of Vlachs and that in Thessaly a large 
proportion of the town population is of Vlach origin. 



IN the texts which follow the conventional epigraphic signs for 
marking missing letters where such are necessary to the sense, the 
resolution of abbreviations and the ends of lines are used. All 
the texts are in an archaic style, which is thought suitable for ecclesi- 
astical purposes and is far removed from the Greek which Vlachs speak. 
They contain in consequence many errors in syntax, grammar and 
spelling, which a Greek scholar will notice at once. 

I. Inscription in the Church of Great St Mary's, Samarina 

"I" fjoTopTjOrj ovTos 6 6elos KTj irdvareTTTOS vaos rrjs VTTfpfvKoyrjyiivrji ivho^ov 
A«TiToivr}S I TjiiS)v QeoTOKOV Mapias dp)(i{paTevovTos rov iTaviepokoyiOTaTov firjrpo- 
noXiTov ic(vpi)ov K(vpl.)ov 'Avdifiov | Uparfvcov Se ev TavTTj rfj (KKXrjcTLa M;;;^aijX 
Upevs K(ai) TrpoTOTranas k^ol) Xprjarov Zrja-rj Xrepyiov | Feoipyiov kol XprjcTTOV rav 
Ifpiav iiTiTponevovTos 8e Fepao-iov TpiavTa(PvXov K^ai) rov avTov darrdvT] ktj 
fTTKTTacria ki) Bia (rvv8pop,rjs rov TiniOTaTov 'ASa/x T^ovrpa ^ k?) iripav ^picrriavav 
I rwv iv TT) X'^P'} Tai^T,'/ fls pvqp,6<Jvi>ov aloaviov (vacat) \ koi Bid x^ipos Xpfjorrov 
lepios Koi 'Avraviov dSeXc^ov avTov viol Trajra ^ladvvov (k ttjs I8ias xdipas | (u eret 
rc5 aaTTjpici) aaiKd iv prjvX 'lovXiai 30. 

2. Inscription in the Church of St Elijah, Samarina 

"I" r](TTopr]di] OVTOS 6 6(ios (c(ai) TvdvaeTTTos vaos rov dyiov eV|So^ov irpo<f)r}TOV 
'HXiov Tov dea^vTov ^ dp)(i€paTev(i)v\Tos rov TraviepordTov pijrpoTroXirov Kvp{iov) 
kvp(lov) Avdifiov 'i\fpaTfvovTos Se roij albtuipoTUTOV Kvp'iov Mr;;(a|^X Uptas <{a.\) 
olKovofiov Koi Tepaalov Uptas ical Xpr]\(rTov tepe'cos eTrtrpoTreuovTOS 'ASo/x Xovrpe ^ 
TOV Koi I 2apapd K(ai) 8id ^^ipos Xprjo-Tov lepeas v{i)ov tov naTrd | loidvvov en ttJs 
l^lai xapas iv ert Ta> (T(OTr]p[co acoKrj ^evpovaptov k TiXos. 

Wf is a common Greek way of writing the sound tsA. 
^ Probably an error for d€o<pT]Tov. 

^ His descendants have changed their surname to Hondrozmu, supposed to be a 
bye form of the Greek XovSpoo-iDjua. 


3. Inscription in the Church of Little St Mary's, Samarina 

Ilai'dyia ' OfOTune (ioiOicre rovs dovXovs {(r)ov tov\s KaTtjKov{vT)as ve t'i x^P^ 
TuvTi dj))(iei)ar(:3ovi'Tos Ta^\pri\ tov TravLepoTciTov Ke deoTrpo^Xirov t\s dyiovTarrjs 
ifx\i)v fxirpoTToXeoi rpfjBevov ^ e^apx^^ f^ta f|o5ouy | 2r6/j(-y)ioy(t)ai't (v (ti 1799 
Maluv 28 Zi(Ti pdaTopas. 

4. Inscription in the Church of Little St Mary's, Samarina 

'H piv Ka\ TraXai vaos Tijs Uavayias nfpljSXfTrTos ovtos ttoXecos ^apaphas \ 
(i\(\)u Kill avdis nepLKaXi]S fls Koapov dveKTicrdi] 81] 86^a Oeov twv oXav \ Upap- 
j^ovi'Tus rf)? i]po)i' (nap)(!.as KXeu'oii Tevvadiov Xdrpov re r;}? j aocfilas, fTripeXta 8f 
TroX(X)ov peTa C^Xov Zijctt} 'E^dp)(ov yeveds 'K.aT{Qr]pi\xov. yepovTfS fXdtre, 
dveXdiT€ vfo\, yvvaiKes 8pdpeTe, e8S) 01 | Trapdtvoi, Koi Trpo(TKVvrjT€ Ofo) tw ovpavLca 
iv (f)6j3a) '^I'x^s KOL I Kap8ias fv eri 1 865 Avyov(rrov 2 Mdcrropay Tidvr]^. 

5. Inscription in the Church of the Monastery of Ayia Paraskevi, 


Ovtos 6 vaos rrjS \ dyrjas ev86^{ov) 6crrjoiT\apdei'opdprr)pos | r(o){} XpKTTOv 
UnpaaKej^lrjs fKTi'^adr] ^^ dno ttj\s ev<TapKLt]tTt]i> etl 171^. 

6. Inscription in the Church called Ayios Sotir at the 
Monastery of Samarina 

"I" i<TTopi6fi OVTOS d delos ii{ai) TravtrenTos vaos tijs dy'ias ev\8d^ov oaionapOfvo- 
pdpTvpQS K{a\) ddXT](p6pov tov X(picrr)ov IlapacrKevTJs \ dp^i-fpaTevovTos tov 
vavupordrov K-{a\) OfOTrpo^XrjTov priTpo7ro\XiTov dyiov Tpe^aLvmv K{vpl)ov 
K{vpl.)ov BapdoXopaiov 81' imaTadias \ <{a\) crvv8poprjs twv fvpicTKopevoyv dytcou 
TraTeputv iv rfj dy'ia \ povrj tovti] Sta ;^«/)6y rcoi/ (iireXSv ArjptjTpiov ^(al) | MrjxarjX 
duayvcoaTOV K(ai) dvayvdxTTov IlaTr{d) 'loy^dwov) e/c Tijs iSt'as ;^a)pas | ^apapivas 
(V eTfi Tw (T(x)TTjpl(i) aaid ev prjvl \ 'OnTopfipLO) le eVfXeto)^?; 86^a T(3 dyloi Sew. 

^ Except for the last two words which are in cursive characters the inscription is 
throughout in capitals. 

^ We are unable to explain these two words satisfactorily. We have been told 
that ^ is an abbreviation for Xari^T] (liadzhi, pilgrim) which does not seem to help 
much. It might stand for xwpas and the phrase might mean "exarch of the land of 



MOST of the songs referred to in Chapters VI and VII have been 
pubHshed elsewhere as will be seen in the notes and conse- 
quently there is no need to give the original texts. But in a 
few cases the songs do not seem to have been published or else the 
published versions are different from those used at Samarina. So we give 
the original texts of those songs as we took them down on the spot. 
Here and in Appendix III our object has been to write the Greek songs 
so that a Greek scholar can understand them and at the same time to 
indicate how the Vlachs pronounce Greek. They speak one of the North 
Greek dialects in all of which the rule is that unaccented i and u dis- 
appear and unaccented e and o become i and u. The Greek letters are 
to be pronounced as in Modern Greek, i.e. /3 is the English v, vr is nd, jxtt 
and ^j3 are both nib, y before i sounds is equal to an English y and yy and 
•yK are like the ng in finger. Latin letters are used to indicate sounds 
for which the Greek alphabet has no symbols ; h and d are the same as in 
EngUsh, g is the hard English g as in gape, o-h is the English sh and 
dfh the English /. Three common Vlach sounds occur of which two 
X' ( = Italian gl) and v' ( = Italian gn) occur in Greek as well and so are 
represented by Greek letters. The third is the peculiar Roumanian 
vowel a for which we use the same symbol as in Vlach. 

I. Betrothal Song 

YliTpa ere nirpa TrtpTrorco, Xtdcipi ae XiOctpi.. 
Uov va '/3pco avvTpovcPov gaXo, koXo k\ Tifirjixh'ov ; 
2av d' (iXnvyov tov yprjyovpov, aav doD yopyb ^iiiyapi., 
'2au dfj yvvcuKa ti) gaXfj, vanov Tifxdfi tov av8pa rj, 
5 '2av Svo) ddip(f)dK.ia dyyapSiaKU vaTrovvi dyaTrrjp.eva, 
Ki Twpa 'fi^rjKi TreipaafJios yia va tovs ^ixovpi(rrj, 
K\ T elv' T] ^(j)opp.i) va rovs l^pV yta va tovs '|tX"''/''"".V > 
*I(TeTf\ia «x'''"«, xovpd(Pia va poipuaTi, 
"Ocra '$• Ti] p-ecri] k\ koKci, wdpi Ta i) dcfjtvTtd aov, 
10 K' oara '? TT] ciKpa k\ kokci, Bcoa Ta 's tov d8ip(f)6 ixov, 
Tedoia ^(f)opp.r] va tovv IfipfiS va nas va tov aK0VTOJ(rr]S. 


2. Song for the Shaving of the Bridegroom 

'2 TTj TTfTpa KcWiTL yafilipos, 
K' r] irirpa anokvKi vipo 
Tlo. va ^vpicrovv to ga/x/3po. 

To X^'P' '"'^^ '^^^ '^'^P't' 
5 'Ex" Kovnixdri p,d\oviia 
'Apyupo ^vpd(pi 
Ivpvi dyd\(a, dyaXfa 
Na prj pauaj] Tpi)(a. 

3. Song for the Dressing of the Bride 

2ea dvcoyfia, <rfa /carcoyeia, 
2ea TCI '^|/•^;Aa (Tfpatyia, 
Pov)(l.T(Tha p.ov Kpvfipfva, 
'2vpe fidva pov, ndp^ ra, 
5 Nv(prj dfXov va yivov 
Na aTavpovirpov(TKVvi](Tov 
Kt X^'P"* "" (piKrjaov. 

4. Song for the Combing of the Bride's Hair 

Napyvpo pov ^t4vi 
'2vpvi. oyaXea, dyaXsa, 
Na /i^ pa'iiar] Tpi)(a, 
Tplx^a drro tqv KKpdXi, 
5 Ki Ta nepvei ^evovs, 
Kt TO. Kdvfi dpdyia. 

5. Song when the Bride is brought out 

Loara n' ti, arak'ira n' ti, 

mor mushata mea ! 

Kseanilc n' Isi dcadira, 

mor gugutsha mea ! 
5 kseanile zh dipartoasile, 

mor mushala mea 1 

Di tse afurn'ie, mor muma mea, 

di mi aghunish di kasa n' ? 

Nu ti aghunii mor feala mea 
10 ka ti pitrek a kasa ts 

slii la nikuk'irata ts. 


6. Song when the Bride's family departs 

Ntcreir rravra da (^vyrjri,, &pa eras KaXrj. 
T.av ban. utto ttj [xavovXa fiov, x'-P'-'''^f^o.'^(^- 

7. Song when the Bride's family departs 

Kti/jjcra/it /xi top rfKiov, Tvayn apya fii tov (f)iyydpi. 
'ly' op)(ovp.i Kt (TV KOLfMatri, '^vwa ficoprj va ^fjs k\ vacri. 
Map' KavpevTj Tl\aTa[xajva tI 'vi ra Kovpaaia Tr'6)(€is ; 
Povfiv'ioTTovXes, TovpKovTTOvXes, Kt fiiKpes apxovvTOVTrovXes, 
5 KddovvTi '■v^jyXa cri kloitti kI dyvavrevovv to. <apd^ia 
Hbp^ovvTi OTTO TOV Miat]pi (f)ovprovp.€va fu (pKiaalSi. 

8. Song when the Bride's family reaches home 

AetVei Koprj an' rrjv avXij, 
AeiVei k\ an' tov ixa)(aXd, 
AftTTfi k\ an Tr] p-dva TS, 
AeiTTei Kt air' tu dblp(^id ts. 

9. When the Bride goes to fetch water 

2av epdf] 'h.v6iT(ja yia vipo, 
Ntpo va firju dfjv 8u>(ti]TI. 
Mdi'' g\ va Tr)v '^iTa^rjri, 
NavdtTcra voiov dyanas ; 
5 Toi/ TidvvT] Top. hpapd-TevTrj. 

10. When the Bride draws water 

Umble sora, vearsa frate, 
Tra inatea ali surate. 

II. When the Bride returns from the conduit 

Na l^l^pfj Tj TTldlpd jJLOV 

H'op^^ovpi an' ttj jSpvcn 
Kpvovp.€vr], nayovp,(vr), 
Na '/3pco TT] (padid va pfvt], 
5 Kt 7-17/1 b;jra (})ovpv(.a(T[X(VTj. 



Ea mundritsa tsi i mushata 
Alb, arosha ka k'iraua ! 
Ea mundritsa di pri k'eptu 
ka si pare birbek aleptu ! 
5 Ea mundritsa di pri poale 
ka si pare ka kash di t foale. 

13. Song when the Arumana reaches a conduit 

BpvcrovXa TTiTpovKayyCka 
Aa)(r fias vipo va TTLovpi 
Net td^s nios Tpayov^ovfjii. 

14. Song for Christmas Eve 

Kolinda, mclinda, 
da n' maie kulaklu, 
ka s afla Hristolu 
tu pahnia a boilor 
5 di frika uvreilor. 

15. Song for Christmas Eve 

KoXti^Sa, pfXivda, 
Aw fjiov hdhov KXuvpct, 
N(t TT(ip.i Ki TrapfKia. 
2a (f)(Tov, naXXiKapLa, 
5 2a (j)iTov (ci Tov xpovov. 



THE following songs all of which are referred to in the history 
of Samarina in Chapter V were collected by us in the village 
itself and are as far as we know unpublished with the exception 
of the first, of which a version has been printed. 

I. Yanni al Preftu 

Tt etv' Ta haipiaKia n'op^^ovvTi dir^ r' Povjiv'io tt] pa^^rj ; 

K rj Tiavvqi xa/iovyeXaa-i, Tapd^ei tov Ki.(f)a\i, 

" M bepi/ei T] ^oiVT] TO cmadl, Trepvei kI to dov(j)(Ki." 

Kt Kcivei TOV dj'7](povpov aav 'p6p(j)o neXia-TeXi, 
5 K' 17 fidva r' cIttoij kovtu tov (tkov^h k\ ^iXa^ei, 

"Tlov Tras Tiatnn] pov povvaxos St;^^? Kava kovtci crov ;" 

" Kt Tt Toiis 6iXov Tovs TTOvXkovs ; TTcivov k\ povva)(6^ pov." 

2(11/ ^avei Kt ■}(^ov)(OVTi^i crav liKovyov ("iapfidrov. 

"Hoi/ Trari ctkuX* 'ApiSai'idu'i, kI cre7s ^pe KovXovv'iatTfs ; 
10 Iya> et'/i.' 17 Tuivvrjs t Trmra, Tiavv^ tov Yiaira Nt/coXa. 

Aei/ €11/ iSo) ret TpifBiva, 8ei> fivi tov Zayopi, 

Aev eiv i8a> r} Amord, k\ oXa tci BXaxov^wpia. 

iSw TO Xev 'ylrrjXa l^ovvd, '\//r;Xa 's Ti] lapaplva, 
14 liov TTOvXipovv piKpa iritia, yvvaiKis k\ KovpiTcria. 

Versions of this song have been published by Aravandinos, "Aa-paTa 
'Hndpov, p. 44, No. 51 ; and Khristovasilis, "eBviko. "AapaTa, p. 188, 
No. 39 ; of. Papahagi, Litieratura Poporand, p. 1008, No. xiii. 

2. Dhukas 

T' eii'' dov KaKO ttov yeviTi TOVTrjv ttjv li38ovpd8a ; 
Moii 'yeXacrav, pov '7rXdvi\lrai> 01 (tkvXoi ol hpaTipoi, 
Kt povTvav, "A'ltlt AovKa pov 'yjrrjXa '? ti) 2apdpu'a 
hpuTipoi yui va yevovpi 's Ta ScoSeKO 'jSayye'Xta." 
5 ^Tavpo KpaTovcr V rit xtipia tov, '/3ayyeXta \ipiToicri, 


K' f) Traydvici tovs Ve'rpouo"t rpovyvpi 's r p.ovaaTi]pi. 
Tov AovKU ea vi<pa>i'a^av, Toi" Aovkq ea vi\4yovv, 
"Ea e/3ya, ej3ya AovKa jjlov, e/Sya va vrpocrKvvrja-ijs." 
"Aev €t/it vu^' va TrpocrKVva>, kI ;(€ipta va (^Ckrjcrov. 
10 'lycb '/ii AovKas ^^UKOva-Tos, 's to gdcr/io '^aKovaiiivos. 
Miva fie '^e'p' 6 ficicriXids, p\ '$epei kI 6 fii^vprj^." 

3. Leoxidiia al Hadzhibira 

Ae 6eXov fidva KXidjiara, 8e dekov pvpiovKoyia. 
M(va fii KXeyovv rd lj3ovvd, fie K\ev to. B\axov)(0)pia, 
Me Kkaiet r] vv)(Ta k\ avyrj, r ciarpo k1 to (piyydpi, 
Me K\ev K oi vv(})€S tov Xad^lu', vixpes tov Xad^hihipov. 
5 '2 Toi) TToXdOvpL \ddovvTav k\ '\j/-iKovTpayov8ovaav, 
"Oaoi Sta/3ari kI av nepvovv 6Xo\ tovs epovTovcrav' 
" Mffv e'lbaTL tov vioKa fias avTov tovv Atouvt'Sa ; 
" Ni/ieir I'^es tovv e'ldaftav ae KXe(f)TLiid Xrjfiepia, 
Nel^av dpvdKia Tr'oyj/ivav, Kpidpia aovfiXrjpiva. 
10 Tovv Aiovvi8a '(Sdpicrav tov hpcoTov naTriTdvov, 

Hov TjTav hapu'iKi \ Ta IBovvci k\ <pXdp,^ovpov 'y tovs KXc(f)Tis." 

4. Dhimitraki al Pazaiiti 

To ^fiddirav t\ yeviTi viTovrrfv ti]v il3bovfiu8a ; 

t^iTOVTTfv l^8ovfia8a tov ArfprfTpdKrf '(idpiaav. 

'naiyrjcre 6 fiavpos 's tov 'x^cupio y\rrjXa 's Trf AifirfviTcra 

Na Trdprj to d^yiX'ia vd irairf '$■ tov Aiovviba. 
5 T^ (TTpdTa dnov Tralyivi, ti] CTTpdra ttov Trrjyaivei 

Tpels TovpKOi vKTTavpova-i 's ti) iKKXrjaid ott tu 8ev8pa. 

Tpia papTivia Tohovaav Ta Tpla 's Trfv apd8a, 

NeVa Toiiv hepvei l^aBipfia k\ to aXXn 's tov Trov8upi, 
9 Toil Tp'iTov TOV (papfidKLpov KaraKapbls tovv hepvei. 

5. Yeorghakis Karadzhas 

'lae'is TTOvXiu ott' to TpifSivo, k\ drfSovia an to KovpuTi, 
2ai/ Trari (carou 's r' "Aypa(pa, k\ Kfirou '$• tov PapaiiKOV, 
Awcrrt )(afil3epi. 's tt) gXicfiTovpiu kI 's oXovs tovs KaniTdvovs, 
To Gapadfha tov (3dpL(Tav \ tov ejirfpov KovpdTi. 
5 "RyifKe 'pTrpocrTa 's re? (}}apiX\es yiu vd tovs x^P^"''^^'^!!- 
IIouAi' xapdT(Ti lyvpifSi Vo 'vd /xid^liid to npdpa. 
'MnpocTd TOV hepvovv pi tov koXo vd ndvi 's to k«Xo tov. 
" Kdrcrt TiapydKi] (f)p6i'ipa, Kdrai rd nLvovpeva, 
'Nf^fS fids l^iyvfivovai avTos 6 (tkvXos ZhovpKas, 
10 Mas V^pi Xipis 'iKaTo k\ l^hovplvTa Kd-trnis." 


" AvTos naXa a-us fKCfxi, ki 'yco rt 6a (ras Kcivov ; 
HovXv xapdrcTi lyvpif^i V6 'va /itd^htd to irpapa. 
2av doKovai 6 Di'Xt Zijo-' ttovKv tov KaKOv(f)dvgi, 
Ki TO TaiKOvpi lihpa^i k\ s to Ki(pa\i t ^avei. 
15 Sai/ 8ev8po dpaia-TiKi, aav KVirapiacn ire^Tei. 

Mavpa TTOvkia tovv €K\iyav, k.1 acnrpa t Tpoyvpovcrav. 

6. Yeoryios Yioldhasis 

Tpeis TTip8iK0v\es KadovvTav 's r;) 2p6XtKav drj pdxTj' 
Nt/iv'ia Tijpdei to. Tidvviva, k fj aWr] kut ttjv Goi'rcra, 
Toil TpiTov TOV piKpoTipov TTjpdei TT] '2dpapiva. 
Stjkou vair' avTov Fecopyt pov, 'yjz-rjXa 's to KapaovXi. 
5 Nj; jrayavia pas 'TTeTpovai, pas 'rrripav do KKpdXia, 
bpoora pas (pepovv da y^ovpv la, k\ 'Triad) fj naydva. 

7. Ghushu al Dhispuli 

To pddiTav Ti yevLTL tovtov tov KaXovKatpi ; 
Ot iiX€(pTis iTTpovCTKvvqcrav k\ oXa to. KanixavaTa. 
Toils 'yeXocri, Toiis 'TrXdviyf/i. 6 86Xiovs KovpavTapovs' 
Tovs (Itti, " Tid Kovmaa-Ti iSoj rrovcrovXes va ads Soxrov." 
5 Ki avToX pavpol 'yiXdcTTrjKav k\ ^KXtiaKav '? tt] avXrj dov. 
Hrav 17 &pa e^, [(pTci Kara tov pLarjptpi. 
Mov)(Tap 'A-yay aav doKOvai, ttovXv tov KaKov(f)dvgi. 

8. Ghushu al Dhispuli. 

Mov yiXaaav, pov 'nXdviip'av to. Tp'ia BXaxovx^mpia, 
Na^e'Xa, ki tov IltpijSoXi k' 17 86Xia ^dpdpiva, 
Mou 'yiXaaav k ol (f)iXoi pov voi aiivXoi TroTpciiTi, 
Kl povirav, " al'di dpx'ijye, vaidl vd TrpovaKVvrjarjs," 
5 Kt povTvav, " aldi Vovahov pov, vaidl i/a TrpovaKvvrjatjS, 

No jTpovaKVVTjar]! 's tovv \)aah.d pea' tov TldgaTa' tov aniTi" 
Ma? 'irripav k1 pas ebrjaav vol aKvXoi 'Ap^avtTi. 
Mas Kdvovv binXa to. t/Souva, dnrXd /car' Toi) dii/'idXi, 
Els TTjv ^ovpKav pas '^rjpepovaav, '? to. Tidvviva pas irdvovv. 
10 Mar 'nripav k\ pas 'Kpepaaav ^•o^ oKuXot 'ApjSaviTi. 

Line 8. div'idXi is unintelligible : probably the line should read, May 
Kavovv StVXa to l^ovvd kutii tov dfiXivdpi. 

9. The Troubles of 1886 

'PobovXa OTTO Toil 'SpoXma, nevKa drr' ttj 2,dpdpiva, 
^tTov vd prjv avoi^iTi, (piTov vd papavdrJTi. 


Not BXa;(Oi 8ev fias (jxivgav tvov fj-eaa arr tov 'PcojiiaiiKO. 
"AXXot TTayrjcrav kqt t' "Aypa(f)a, k\ a'XXot Kara tt] 'PevBa 
5 YlipaoTfpoi 'f Tri SXircrllai'i;, Kavus 8ev 6h 'TTovfifivri, 

Kt aWoi efiivav KaraKafXTrls, KarciKafiTrls s tovs Kap-TTovs. 
navadifia tov avriov tov Zrjai D^hi/xouflldga, 
AvTos flvi 6 a'lTios, avTos yivgi iTia. 
'nijpi TO gdcr/xo 's to Xaifxo k\ o\a ra B\axov)(6)pia. 
10 Mevovv KovpLTcria avvnavSpa, nibui appa^ovviaapeva. 

10. The War of 1897. 

May T)\di (ivoi^i TTiKprj, tov KaXovKaipi fxavpov. 
Aev (cXe're ;^copef k\ ■)(ovpia k\ (rei? /3pe jSiXafTia ; 
T' etV' dou KaKO ttov yeviTi tovtov tov KaXovKalpi ; 
'^€TOV 6a yfivr] TroXifiovs, 'iXXa? /xi ttj DovpKia. 
5 'Htov napa(TKev6l3pa8ov, '2a^^dTo tov \a(dpov, 
K' oi TovpKOL IviKijaav, ^Trrjpav drj QecTaaKia. 
'Ede^ Uacrhas pov^6\ia(ri 'rrov /xeV '$■ Trjv 'A/ntXdi'a, 
'2 tov TovpvaQov '^iptpova-i, 's ttj Adpacra yiopaTL^ei. 
Ad)(fi 'fiepa ttj haaxaXid p,'i to XpicrTos dvfCTTrj. 
10 BpicTKei Ta KOKKiva r alya, Kpidpia (TOV^Xrjpfva. 
Ki Trepvei d(^dpva Ta xovpia p.i-XP'- '''"^ BiXiaiiTLVov. 



THE few texts here printed have been chosen to illustrate Chapter 
XI and the account there given of the Vlach language. With 
the exception of the first two, the songs and tales have been col- 
lected by us ourselves during our travels amongst the Vlachs. As regards 
the folk songs it is to be noted that the old songs are as a rule in short 
lines and do not rhyme. A song in which the lines rhyme in pairs is new 
and probably not more than thirty years old. We have given three 
such modern songs from Samarina, Nos. 10-12 below. Of these three the 
first has references to Samarina customs such as their fondness for wine, 
and their nomadic habits. The third deals ^\ath families staying in 
the plains and not coming up to the village for the summer, and also 
with the emigration of the able bodied young men to America. The 
second of the three is one of a large class of personal songs which are 
very popular at Samarina. There are two men in the village who 
continually compose new ones which they sing at festivals. They do 
this not for gain, but for amusement ; and neither of the two song 
writers can be said to have had much education. This song writing is 
not due to the Roumanian propaganda, for every now and again some 
one else will make up a topical and personal song, and we have heard 
muleteers singing them. That Samarina delights in such songs and 
thinks no ill of them shows how cheerfully they take life in the summer. 
The translations appended have been left in as simple a style as possible 
so that with their aid the original texts may be understood quite easily. 

A. Folk Songs 

Tsintsi an' n'i alagai Five years long I walked 

pri ning amare, near the sea, 

sha altsa tsintsi mi primnai. and another five I wandered. 

Tru gradina vruta n'i aflai I found my beloved in a garden 

iu durn'a sum trandafir. where she was asleep under a 

rose tree. 



Disfeatse okl'i atsel' lail'i 

di mi mutreashte ; 
disfeatse gura di asime 
sha mi zburashte ; 
lo " lu eshti dzhone tuta iara 

kand n'i easte rakoare ; 
ma yin primaveara 
kand mi h'ivxeashte ? " 

She opens her eyes those black 

and looks at me ; 
she opens her mouth of silver 
and addresses me ; 
" Where are you boy all winter 

when I am cold ? 
But you come in the spring 
when I have fever." 

This we have taken from Weigand, Die Aromunen, ii. p. 90, No. 60. 
A Greek version of it is known at Samarina and at Verria. It is 
probably an old Vlach song that has been translated into Greek. 


Bre dzon, fitsori di Koz-ni 
di naparte d araUj 
kar si va tshets Kastoria 
tshe easte hoara mare 
5 si pitritshets un masturii, 
si h'iba dzhone multu, 
si pilekseaska marmare, 
s adara groapa mare. 
Sa stau mbrostu tri si ved 

10 si ved sa polimsesku, 
sa dhipla mihrisesku. 
Tshez va sa dzats a mum mea 
ka eu m insurai ; 
soakra mindai ploatsile 

1 5 sa lailu lok mg'are. 

Ho gallant lads of Kozhani 

from beyond the river, 

if you go to Kastoria 

which is a large town 

see you send a mason, 

let him be very skilled, 

let him cut marble 

to make a big tomb. 

Let me stand upright that I may 

that I may see to fight, 
and bend double. 
Go and tell my mother 
that I have married ; 
as mother-in-law I have taken the 

and the black earth as my wife. 

We have taken tliis from Weigand, Olympo-Walachen, p. 116, 
No. xii. The idea of the last six lines occurs in many Greek klephtic 
songs, e.g. Passow, Carmina Popularia, Nos. civ, cv, cvi, clii, clvi, 
clx, clxv. It is possible that these, like the Samarina klephtic 
songs (see Appendix II), were written by Vlachs, and therefore there 
seems no reason to suppose that the idea has been borrowed by 
Greek from Vlach or vice versa. In any case this song seems to be an 
old one. 




Naparti di lai amare 

sh alavdara sh na mushata. 

Kum si n' fak lailu si u vedu ? 

;^gallika ts kallu dzhuneali 
5 zh du ti, da ts pan di mushata. 

Buna dzua lea mushata. 
G'ini vinish lai dzliuneaU. 
lu n' ts u mata lea mushata ? 

Mum mea dusi la na numta, 
10 la na numta vasilkeaska 

di si fatsi prota nuna. 

The Verria Vlachs sing this 
Baieasa, Weigand, Aromtmen, ii. p 

Beyond the black sea 

they praised a beautiful maid. 

What am I to do, poor wretch, to 

see her ? 
Mount your horse boy, 
and go, away to the beautiful 

Good day fair maiden. 
Welcome boy. 
Tell me where is your mother, fair 

My mother is gone to a wedding, 
to a royal wedding 
and is become first godmother. 
at betrothals. It is also known at 
. 8, No. 6. 

Dzhoka pionellu 
tu livadzle verdza. 
Roaoa shi lun'ina, 
feata si nverina. 
5 Peanile 1' kadu, 
dzonile 1' arape, 
feata si nverina 
Mor nu ti nverina, 
ka pri poarta ts treku, 
10 Salona mi duku. 

Dza n' tsi vrei s ts aduku. 

Baire din Pole 
shi funde di sta Seara, 
k'aptine di Verria, 
1 5 pudhimate di Larsa. 

This song; is also known at 


The peacock dances 

in the green meadows. 

Dew and sunlight, 

the maiden is downcast. 

His feathers drop, 

the youth seizes them, 

the maiden is downcast. 

Come maiden do not be downcast 

for before your door I pass, 

to Salona I go. 

Tell me what you wish me to brin^ 

Necklaces from Stamboul, 
and tassels from Seres, 
a comb from Verria, 
boots from Larissa. 
Turia and x\meru. 

Fudzi, fudzi fumii ! 
Katra iu s mi duku ? 
La k'atra k'ipitoara. 
Tsi si maku, tsi z beau ? 


Go away, go away smoke. 
WTiere am I to go to ? 
To the peaked rock. 
What am I to eat, what am I to 
drink ? 



5 Unu pulishoru. 

Ku tsi si lu tal'u ? 

Ku parlu di la strunga. 

Parlu iu easti 

L arsira fokurli. 
lo Fokurli iu sundu ? 

L astcasira ploiurli. 

Ploiurli iu sundu ? 

Li biura kaprili. 

Kaprili iu sundu ? 
IS Li makara luk'l'i. 

Lukl'i iu sundu ? 

Loara kalea di Briaza. 

A little bird. 

With what am I to kill it ? 

With the post from the sheepfold. 

Where is the post ? 

The fires burnt it. 

Where are the fires ? 

The rains put them out. 

Where are the rains ? 

The goats drank them. 

Where are the goats ? 

The wolves eat them. 

Where are the wolves ? 

They took the road to Briaza. 

6. LAKA 

More Armana sh mor mushata 
tsi n' stai maramnata ? 
Tats lai dado, nu mi kreapa 
ka n'i dzhonile 1 am tu kseane. 
5 Dzatse an'i am tsi 1 ashteptu ; 
nika trei an'i vai 1 ashteptu. 

shi dapoia vai mi maritii, 
shi n'i I'au un dzhone aleptu, 
aleptu shi pramateftu. 

This song is known at Baieasa, and Weigand, Aromimen, ii. p. 86 
No. 56, has a version from Monastir. 

Vlach maiden, beautiful maid 
why do you stand so melancholy ? 
Hush mother, do not worry me, 
for I have my lad in foreign parts. 
For twelve years I wait for him ; 
for three more years will I wait for 

and then will I marry, 
and I will take a chosen lad, 
a chosen lad and a merchant. 


By marbles four or five, 

by fountains six, 

there sleeps a maid alone, 

alone and yet betrothed. 

And her mother said to her, 

to her her mother says, 

" Arise, arise oh daughter mine, 

a bride will I make you, 

since the kinsfolk come to take 

kinsfolk from the bridegroom." 

This is one of the three regular songs sung at a betrothal at Sama- 
rina, see p. 107. A Greek version, probably a translation, is known at 
Verria and in Epirus, Zuy imcfjdos 'Aycot-, p. 166, No. 310. 

La patru tsindza marmare, 

la shassile fandan'i 

aklo doarme feata singura, 

sifigura shi isusita. 

Shi dadasa ma I'i dzatsia, 

shi dadasa I'i dzatse, 

" Ea skoala, skoala h'il'e amca 

niveasta va n' t adaru, 

ka yin kuskril'i tra s ti I'a, 

10 kuskri di la ghambrolu." 




Nu ti arade feata n'ika, 

nu yinu la noi. 

La noi are vale mare, 

Nu vai pots s u tretsa. 
5 Peashte mare vai mi faku, 

zh valea vai n' u treku, 

sh eu la voi vai yinu. 

Nu ti arade feata n'ika, 

nu yinu la noi. 
10 La noi are mundz analtsa. 

Nu vai pots tra s tretsa. 

Pitrunikl'e vai mi faku^ 

sh munzl'i vai n' I'i treku, 

sh eu la voi vai yinu. 
15 Nu ti arade feata n'ika, 

nu yinu la noi. 

La noi are soakra araua. 

Nu vai pots z banedza. 
Soakra araua, noara buna, 

20 doaule vai tritsem, 
zh doaule vai banam. 

Make no mistake little girl, 

do not come to us. 

By us there is a great river. 

You will not be able to cross it. 

I will make myself a big fish, 

and I will cross the river, 

and I will come to you. 

Make no mistake little girl, 

do not come to us. 

By us there are lofty mountains. 

You will not be able to cross them, 

I will make myself a partridge, 

and I will cross the mountains, 

and I will come to you. 

Make no mistake little girl, 

do not come to us. 

By us there is a cruel mother-in- 

You will not be able to live. 

Cruel mother-in-law, good 

we will get on the two together, 

and two together we will live. 


Doi mundza analts sh grei ; 
dupa munde na livadhe vearde ; 

tu livadhe na fandana aratse. 
Mi aplikai z beau theam di ap 
5 di n' arkai okl'ulu andreptu, 
di n' vidzui un dzhone aleptu, 
di sh avea sh un mer arosh tu 

Dzhone kat al dai merlu ? 

Feata un okl'u di atau. 

Two mountains tall and cruel ; 
behind the mountain a green 

meadow ; 
in the meadow, a cold spring, 
I stooped to drink a little cold 

and I cast my eyes ahead, 
and I saw a chosen lad, 
and he had a red apple in his 

Boy for what do you give the 

apple ? 
Maiden one of your eyes. 

A version of this song from Monastir is given by Weigand, 
Aromunen, ii. p. 86, No. 57. 




Dumnidzalekat h'ii mare, 

dai la tuts kat una hare. 

N avem sh noi lail'i na hare. 

Kand bem yinu vrem kandare. 

5 Samarina hoara mare 
kathe dzua ka pazare. 
Tsi mshata hoara n avemii ! 
Toamna vdzimu, u alasamii. 
Prumuveara di pri Martsu 
10 na fudzi mindea dift gapu. 
Na bagam mare frundidha 

kum s ishim tu patridha. 

S na baneadza atsel'i tsi au oi ; 

dupa el'i vnim shi noi. 
1 5 S na baneadza tshehiikazl'i ; 
dupa el'i yin k'iradzhazl'i. 
Na vnim tuts ku haraua 
ka, skapam di iarna greaua. 

Lord how great thou art, 

thou givest all a talent each. 

We too poor wretches have a 

When we drink wine we want to 

Samarina is a big town, 

each day is like a market. 

What a fine town we have ! 

In autumn we go, we leave it. 

In spring about March 

our mind goes out of our heads. 

We put great thought upon our- 

how to get up to our home. 

Long life to those who have 
sheep ; 

after them we come too. 

Long life to the shepherds ; 

after them the muleteers come. 

We all come with joy 

because we have escaped from 
hard winter. 


Nu va avdzatsa voi lai Sam- 

Yari la li la, iu duts lea Yana 

mea ? 
Tsi s featse la Baktshilarlu ? 

S isusi sh Adhamlu al Tshutra, 

5 di shi lo sh na kupatshara, etc. 
Avdzara shi niposl'i al Guda, 

Dusira pan la karavi, etc. 
H'il'u al Biti al Mihula, etc. 
shi u arak'i sh u lo naveasta, 


Oh Samariniats have you not 

Yari la li la where go you Yana 
mine ? 

What happened at Baktshilar ? 

Adham al Tshutra became be- 
trothed, etc. 

and took a kupatshar, etc. 

Guda's nephews heard, etc. 

They went as far as the ferry, etc. 
The son of Biti al Mihula, etc. 
seized her and took her for his 
bride, etc. 

When this song is sung a sirto can be danced to it. 




Estan lipsesk fumeri di ng'os, This year families from below are 

girls from below are wanting ; 
they do not come to us to Sama- 

The poor things weep, they weep 

in misery, 
upstairs and downstairs. 
The poor wretches cannot pay 

their fare. 
Curse take the reason 
which became the cause. 
Boys go to America. 
Boys go, married men go, 
boys of age go. 
The girls keep vigil. 

lipsesk feate di h'ima ; 
nu na yinii Samarina. 

Plang laile, plang maratile 

5 pri t anoyi, pri t katoyi. 
N au laile s plateaska aghoyi. 

Panathima I'a etiulu 
tsini s featsi itie. 
Fug fitshori t Amerik'ie. 
10 Fug fitshori, fug suratsa, 
fug fitshori tu ilik'ie. 
Featile baga aghrapnie. 

B, Folk Tales 


Eara una feata shi una muma shi muma nu vrea pri feata. U 
agudia multii, shi adra lemnu. Masa u baga tu fokii ; arka tshinusha 
tu gradina. Di s adra sakurafa. U lo sh u hipse tu davani. Shi una 
dzua masa nu avea apa. Feata s skla shi adra pita, shi nasa nu iara 
a kasa shi z duse ta s I'a apa. Shi ndriba pri mbl'erile, " Kari n' adra 
pita ? " Shi alna pri davani feata. Shi apoia alanda dzua mbl'earea 
vrea si z duka la bisearika shi s askumse dupa usha shi u akatsa shi u 
tsanu n gasa. Turia 


There was a daughter (lit. girl) and a mother and the mother did not 
like the daughter. She beat her m.uch and made her wood. Her 
mother put it in the fire ; she threw the ash in the garden. She be- 
came a packneedle. She took it and stuck it in the ceiling. And one 
day her mother had no water. The daughter got up and made a 
pasty, and she was not at home and had gone to get water. And she 
asked the women, " WTio made me the pasty ? " And the daughter 
had gone up on to the ceiling. And another day afterwards the woman 
wanted to go to church and she hid behind the door and she caught 
her and kept her at home. 



Shi eara una mai ku un pap, avea un kukot ku na galina. Imna, 
imna mai ku paplu shi kukotlu s alna sti alunu. Kukotlu kanta shi 
galina shdea m pade shi 1' tsia, " Kukoate, kukoate aruka n' na aluna." 
Shi arka na aluna shi skoase old'u a galinil'ei. Metagri galina, 
" Kukoate, kukoate aruka ninka una." L' arka ninka una shi 1' 
skoase sh aland okru. " Kukoate, kukoate aruka ninka una." Al' 
skoase un tshor ; metagri galina pali, " Kukoate, kukoate aruka ninka 
una." Shi arka ninka una slii 1' skoase aland tshoru. Plamplum 
galina la katilu. Galina ku maia al' dzasira a katilui, " Afendi m, 
afendi m, brea n' okl'l'l, brea n' tshoarle, tsi n' adara kukotlu ! " 
Katilu kl'ima kukotlu, "Atsets kukotlu aoa ! " Adusira kukotlu aklotse ; 
" Tsi ai di galina ? " " N' arupse smeana alunlu." Katilu aduse alunlu, 
"Tsi aveai di smeana a kukotlui ?" "Tsi manka frandzile kapra ?" 
dzase alunlu. " Atsets kapra aoatse," dzase napoi katilu. " Tsi nu 
m pashtia gine pikurarlu ? " Pikurarlu al' dzase, " Tsi nu n' didea 
pane doamna mea ? " Doamna dzase, " Tsi manka poarka alotlu ? " 
" Atsets poarka aoa ! " Poarka nu gri tsiva ; " N' eara foame," dzase, 
shi skapa. Amintshu (Metsovo) 

2. The Cock and the Hen 

And there was an old woman with an old man, she had a cock with 
a hen. The old woman with the old man walked and walked, and the 
cock climbed on a nut tree. The cock was crowing and the hen was 
sitting down, and was saying to him, " Cock, cock throw me a nut." 
And he threw a nut and knocked out the hen's eye. The hen called 
again, "Cock, cock throw one more." He tlirew her one more and 
knocked out her other eye too. " Cock, cock throw one more." He 
knocked off her leg ; the hen called again, " Cock, cock throw one 
more." And he threw one more and knocked off her other leg. Plam 
plum the hen is off to the judge. The hen with the old woman said to 
the judge, "Master, master, look at my eyes, look at my legs, see what 
the cock did to me ! " The judge called the cock, " Bring the cock 
here." They brought the cock there ; " What have you with the 
hen ? " " The nut tree tore my drawers." The judge brought the 
nut tree, " What had you with the cock's drawers ? " " Why did the 
goat eat my leaves ? " said the nut tree. ' ' Bring the goat here," said 
the judge again. " Wliy did not the shepherd feed me well ? " The 
shepherd said, " Why did not my mistress give me bread ? " The 
mistress said, " Wliy did the sow eat the yeast ? " " Bring the sow 
here ! " The sow did not call out at all ; " I was hungry," she said, 
and that's all. 



Eara un aush ku una maosha sh avea un kukot sh una plitsS,. 
Vine oara si ngatshara moasha ku aushlu, sh kafta di si mbartsara. 
Plitsa kadzu ale moasha shi kukotlu kadzu al aush ; shi kafta kukotlu 
si z duka tu kseane. Tatasu nu 1 alasa. " Oh'i, va mi pitrets tu 
kseane, vai mi duku." E, tatasu tsia, " Nu ti pitrekii," shi apufasi di 1 
pitriku. Alko iu z duse tu kseane, duse di skalsia la palate al vasil'e, 
zhdiskalsire multa tsi fatsia afla una flurie. " Ka ka ka ! " dzase elu, 
" aflai na flurie." Avdi h'il'lu al vasil'e sh ease di 1' u I'a fluriea, 
Tsi adara elii ? Di parakalia multa lo napoi tu baktshe di skalsi di s 
umblu di flurii. Dzase elu vine oara si z duka la tatasu. " Tora " 
dzase a tatasui " spindzura mi sh I'a na drama sh agudia si vedz tsi 
vai kada." Lo shi tatasu drama shi 1 agudish kade k'isavro di flurii. 
S toarna tatasu zh dzase " Fitshori si lom tagharia shi V numiram." 
Duk la moasha, kafta tagharia, shi moasha aundze tagharia di 
katrani ta si s alakeaska flurii. Aushlu 1 akatsa inatea sh akatsara 
di z batura doil'i aushan'i tsi eara mbartsatsa. Tradze un, tradze 
aland zh vatamara moasha tu lok shi muri. Samarina 

3. The Old Man and the Old Woman 

There was an old man with an old woman and they had a cock and 
a hen. The time came and they quarrelled the old woman with the 
old man, and she asked and they parted. The hen fell to the old woman 
and the cock fell to the old man ; and the cock asked to go to foreign 
parts. His father would not let him. " No, you will send me to 
foreign parts, I will go." His father was saying, "I am not going 
to send you," and he decided and sent him. There where he went 
to foreign parts, he went and was scratching by the king's palace, and 
from all the scratching he did he found a gold piece. " Ka ka ka," 
said he, " I have found a gold piece." The king's son hears and comes 
out and takes the gold piece from him. What does he do ? With 
much entreaty he got back to the garden and scratched and filled 
himself with gold pieces. He said the hour had come to go to his father. 
" Now," said he to his father, " hang me up and take a switch and beat 
me to see what will fall." And his father took the switch and beat 
him and a treasure of gold pieces falls. His father turns and said, 
" Boys let us get the bag and count them." They go to the old woman, 
ask for the bag and the old woman smears the bag with pitch so that 
the gold pieces should stick. Anger seized the old man and they set 
to and they beat one another the two old people who had parted. 
One hits, the other hits, and they killed the old woman on the spot and 
she died. 



Eara na oara shi un g'iro un tshelnik mare shi mult nikuk'ir sh avea 
un pikurar mult pisto shi naundru tu namal'i avea sh un birbeatse mult 
mare, shi 1' tsia I'aru. Zh vinea pikurarlu a kasa ; al' tsia " Kali 
mera afendiko." " Kalo s ton bistiko, kum 1 ai oile shi I'arlu ? " 
Shi una dzua loara zbor ku un uvreu mult nikuk'ir tra pikurarlu shi 
tshelniklu al' tsia ka pikurarlu easte mult pisto shi nu poate si 1 arada 
kan, shi bagara stihima ku uvreulu ka vai poata si 1' dzaka mindzhune. 
Bagara tuta periusie sh adrara simvoli ghrapte, ka z dzaka mindzhune 
pikurarlu si I'a tuta periusia al tshelniku shi ka si dzaka alithia si I'a 
tshelniklu a lui. Si mta uvreulu, baga alte stran'e, alaksi furishaoa 
shi z duse la oi shi mundria tra si 1 akumbara I'arlu. Shi pikurarlu al' 
dzase, " Nu ts u dau." Al' deade dzatse lire shi nu 1' u dadea. Dutse, 
s mta uvreulu. Ts s adara ? Z dutse a kasa shi I'a mbl'earesa shi u 
aduse aklotse la oi shi pikurarlu s arase shi 1' deade I'arlu tra mbl'earesa. 
Di kar al' lo I'arlu uvreulu, lo shi mbl'earesa shi z duse a kasa la tshel- 
niku, shi tshelniklu dapoia pitriku un cm si 1' greaska al pikurarii. 
Shi pikurarlu k'insi shi vnea kalea, tsia ku mindea ale karlibana. 
Baga katshula pri karlibana shi zbura ku ea shi 1' tsia, " KaXi) 'fj-epa 
d(f)(v8iK6 \" " KaXo 's TOP hicTTiKO, t\ x'^hapia;" " KaXfi." " IldJs Td)(£is ra 
TTpu^ara;" " KaXa." ^'ToX'apo nSs tov e'x?;" " ^o0(n." " Nu dutse," al' 
tsia ku minde. Vnea ma ngoa shi u baga napoi katshua shi tsia, " KaXfj 
^fiipa d(f)ev8iK6 ! " " KaXo 's tov hiariKo, t\ xo-hdpia ; " " KaXa." " Has rax^is ra 
vpojBaTa;" " KaXd." " To X'dpo rras tov i'xs ; " '' Tovi'cpayi SXvkos." -' Oh'i nu 
dutse." Yine la poarta al tshelniku shi baga napoi katshua si 1' tsia, 
" KaXf) 'p-ipa d(^ei'SiKO ! " " KaXo 's rov bioTiKo, rt ^('■^'^p'''^ > " " KaXd." " Hats 
T'd;(etf TO. Trpo^ara ; " " KaXd." " Ilcur tov e^f to X'dpo ; " " 'll^yf yid. noprj^i- 

Xr]p.a." " Aest easte bun, aest vai dzaku." Shi alna analt la tshelniklu 
shi afla multa lume aklo, atsel'i tsi adrara ghraptele sh ashtiptara 
pikurarlu tsi vai dzaka, mindzhune i alithia. Shi 1' dzase al tshelniku, 
"KaXj} 'fiepa dcjievdiKO \" " KoXd '$■ tuv btortKo," al' dzaSe tshelnildu, " rt 
Xahapia;" "KaXd." "11039 Td^fiS rd Trpo^ara ;" "KaXd." "To X'dpo vas 
Tovexs;" Shi pikurarlu al' dzase, " Ilatft yid Kop-qi^lXi^p.a.'" Shi epidhis 
ka spuse alithia al' lo tuta periusia al uvreu slii skapa. Shi earam shi 
eu aklo shi n' dadea dzhumitate sh io nu vream ka am multsa. 


4. The Jew and the Shepherd Boy 

Once upon a time there was a great and very wealthy shepherd and 
he had a shepherd boy who was very trusty and among the sheep he had 
a very big ram and he used to call it piebald. And the shepherd boy 
used to come to his house, he used to say to him, " Good day master ! " 
" Welcome to the trusty shepherd boy, how have you the sheep and the 


piebald ?" And one day they disputed with a very wealthy Jew about 
the shepherd boy, and the shepherd was telling him that the shepherd 
boy was very trusty and that no one could deceive him, and they made 
a wager with the Jew that he would be able to tell him a lie. They 
wagered all their fortune and made a written contract, if the shepherd 
boy tells a lie the Jew should take all the shepherd's fortune, and if he 
tells the truth the shepherd should take his. The Jew bestirred himself, 
put on other' clothes, changed his dress and M^ent to the sheep and 
was looking to buy the piebald. And the shepherd boy said to him, 
" I am not giving it to you." He offered him ten pounds and he would 
not give it to him. The Jew goes away ; he bestirred himself. Wliat 
should he do ? He goes home and takes his wife and brings her there 
to the sheep, and the shepherd was deceived and gave him the piebald 
for his wife. Wlien the Jew took the piebald he took his wife too and 
went to the shepherd's house and the shepherd sent a man to call to 
the shepherd boy. And the shepherd boy started and was coming 
on his way ; he was talking in his mind to his crook. He put his fez 
on his crook and was talking with it and saying to it, " Good day 
master ! " " Welcome to the trusty shepherd boy, what news ? " 
" Good." " How have you the sheep ? " " Well." " The piebald 
how is it ? " " It's dead." " It does not do," he was saying in his 
mind. He came nearer and put his fez again (on his crook) and was 
saying, " Good day master ! " " Welcome to the trusty shepherd boy, 
what news ? " " Good." " How have you the sheep ? " " Well." 
" The piebald how is it ? " " The wolf ate him." " No, it does not 
do." He came to the shepherd's door and put his fez back again 
and was saying, " Good day master ! " " Welcome to the trusty 
shepherd boy, what news ? " " Good." " How have you the sheep ? " 
" Well." " How is the piebald ? " " It's gone for a kiss." " This is 
good, this is what I'll say." And he went upstairs to the shepherd 
and found many people there, those who had made the contract, and 
waited for the shepherd boy what he would say, a lie or the truth. And 
he said to the shepherd, " Good day master ! " " Welcome to the 
trusty shepherd boy," said the shepherd to him, "what news?" 
" Good." " How have you the sheep ? " " Well." " The piebald 
how is it ? " And the shepherd boy said to him, " It's gone for a kiss." 
And since he told the truth, he took all the Jew's fortune and that's 
the end. And I was there too and they offered me half and I would not 
have it because I have much. 



The principal writers who have dealt with the Balkan Vlachs in general are 
the following : — 

Apa^avTivos, Xpovoypa(f)ia ttjs 'H-rreipov, and Movoypa<^ia TTfpi Kovrcro^Xaji^coi'. 

Barbulescu, I., Relations des Roumains avec les Series^ etc. 

Berard, V., Pro Macedonia. 

Brailsford, Macedonia, its Races and its Future. 

Bratter, Die Kutzowalachische Frage. 

Diamandi, V., Renseignenients Statisiiques sur la Population des Balkans. 

Eliot, Sir C, Turkey i?t Europe. 

Evans, Sir A., Antiquarian Researches in Jllyricum, Archcsologia, vols. 48, 49. 

Fortescue, A., The Orthodox Eastern Church. 

Aa[X7rpi8r]s, 'UnfipwriKa MfXeTrip.aTa, 

Lazar, V., Die Siidrufndnen (this contains a useful bibliography). 

Leake, Researches in Greece, and Travels in Northern Greece. 

Philippson, Thessalien und Epirus. 

Pouqueville, Voyage de la Grece, and Mdmoire sur Plllyrie, etc., in M^m. de 

PA cad. des Inscrpt., vol. xii. 
2;^ti/ds', OdoiTTopiKov tjjs Maicedovias. 

Tomaschek, Die alien Thraker, and Zur Kunde der Hiimus Halbinsel. 
Tozer, Highlands of Turkey. 
Weigand, Olympo-Walachen, Vlacho-Meglen, Die Aromunen aLXidiYns articles 

in i\iQ Jahresberichte of the Roumanian Seminar at Leipzig. 
"Koihas, 'H 'icTTopia rrjs ManedoviKtis 'YTrodea-ecos. 
Xpvcroxooi, B\a)(oi Koi KovTcro/3Xa;^ot. 
Other sources of information are the Encyclopcedia Britannica, the 

MaKe^oviKov 'HpepoXoyiov, 1908-1912 (published in Athens), and the 

linguistic papers of Miklosich in the Wiener Denkschriften. 

P. 6. The book in question is the 'Eto-aycoyiK)) Ai^acDcaXta of Daniel which 
was probably printed at the press of the Greek Patriarchate at Constantinople. 
The signatures are in Greek type, and this feature and the same ornaments 
are to be found in the Y..avoviKi)v /jtol ol Qeloi Kavova crvveCKey pivot Trapa 
Xpia-Tocftopov Movdxov which was printed at the Patriarchate press in 1798. 
There are copies of both these books in the British Museum. 



P. i8. Hashia. In Greek the district is called Xdaia (pronounced 
Khashia), but the name is probably derived from the Turkish k/iassa, 
private or personal. This would suit a country full of chiftliks. In this 
connection it is worth noting that till 1840 the villages of Pelion and 
Magnesia were divided into Khasia and Vakuphia. The former according 
to Maghnis seem to have been like chiftliks, but Yeoryiadhis' account does 
not agree with this. See Urquhart, Sph-it of the East, i. p. 313 ; Philippson, 
Thessalien unci Eptrus, pp. 152, 170; Mayvifs, nepirj-yrja-is rrjs Oeaa-aktas, 
p. 43; Teoipyiddrjs, QfcraaXia^, pp. I04, 1 86 ; ^ApnjSavTLvos, Xpovoyi)a(pLa ttjs 
'HTreipov, ii. p. 176. 

P. 22. For accounts of the war of 1897 see, Rose, IVt't/i the Greeks in 
Thessaly ; Bingham, With the Turkish Army in Thessaly. 

P. 22. For the history of the bishopric of Ghrevena see, Gelzer, Patri- 
archat von Achrida, esp. pp. 8, 16, 20, 35 ff., ii7ff., 136, 142 ; Bysantinische 
Zeitschrift, 1892, pp. 256, 257: 1893, pp. 43, 59; Athenische Mitteilungen^ 
1902, p. 435 ; Le Quien, Oriens Christianas, ii. pp. 294, 323 ; Miklosich- 
Muller, Acta et Diplomata, ii. p. 250 ; Ne'o? 'EXKijvoiiinjiicov, vii. p. 154. 

P. 23. For information about the early history of Ghrevena see, Passow, 
Carmina Popularia, Nos. xxi-xxiii, cviii, ex, cxxvi ; Pouqueville, Hist, de 
la Regeneration de la Grece, pp. 61, 338 ; Pari. Papers 18^4, Correspondence 
respecting the Relations of Greece and Turkey, p. 227 ; ''Kpa^avrivos, 
Xpoi'oyparjna, i. pp. 64, 174, 195, 379 ; "/\.ap.aTa 'HTreipov, Nos. 27, 48, 61, 71, 
8l,!9I) 93) 97) 98; 100-103, 113, 116, 117; Xprja-To^aa-iXrjs, 'EdviKii "^(rixaTa, 
pp. 289, 294 ; Hfppai^os, 'laropia 2ov\iov koL Uapyas, I. p. 23 ; Aap.Trpi8rjs, 
'Hneip. MeXerfjpaTa, iii. pp. 69 ff., v. p. 39, ix. p. 61. 

P. 27. For further particulars about Ghrevena see the books already 
given in the bibliography to Chapter I, especially Leake, Pouqueville, 
Weigand, 'Apaliavnvos, and Sxtvay, cf. also Nicolaidy, Les Turcs et la 
Ttirquie Contemporaine, ii. p. 229 ; MeXeVtoy, Temypacjiia (Venice, 1728), 
P- 396. 

P. 28. The word Varoshi which in modern Greek means suburb is 
according to Gustav Meyer of Magyar origin and is connected with the 
word varos town, and z'ar castle. Throughout Thessaly and South 
Macedonia it occurs as the name of suburbs at Serfije, Okhridha, Elassona, 
Pharsala and elsewhere. Since under Turkish rule the christians were 
compelled to live in the suburbs and not in the centre of a town the word 
Varoshi has come to mean the christian quarter of a town. How the word 
strayed down into the Southern Balkans is obscure, but it even occurs as far 
afield as Famagusta in Cyprus. 

P. 29. On the Valakhadhes see, Weigand, Aro7nunen, i. p. 128 ; 
Nicolaidy, Les Turcs et la Turquie Contemporaine, ii. p. 216 ; MoKfSovticov 
'H/x€/)oXdyioi/, 191 1, p. 113. Their principal villages are Dovratovo, Kublari, 
Subeno, Krivtsi, Tsurkhli, Triveni, Kastro, Dovrunista, Great Serini, 


Dovrani, Kira Kale, Vriashteno, Ventsa, Meseniko, Torista, Angalei, 
Tshotili, Vaipes, Pilori, Bubushti, Yiankovo, Breshtiani, Nestimi, Zeligoshti, 
Vrostani and Dhislapo. 

P. 30. On the Kupatshari see, Weigand, Aromuficn, i. p. 130 ; 'Apa(3av- 
Tivos, Xpovoypa(pia, ii. pp. 342 fF. Their principal villages are Bura, Divrani, 
Vravonishta, Tshuriaka, Mesoluri, Dhelvino, Tuzhi, Dusko, Philippei (in 
Vlach Filkl'i), Vodhendzko, Sharghanei, Lavdha, Lipinitsa, Tishta, Spileo, 
Zalovo, Riakhovo, Paleokhori, Kosmati, Sitovo, Mavranei (in Vlach 
Mavranle), Mavronoro, Kipurio which Leake calls Vlach, Zapando, 
Labanitsa, and Monakhiti, Aravandinos also gives Pulitsari and Kusko, 
which is perhaps an error for Dusko, as speaking Greek and Vlach. But 
he omits several of the above, and states that Samarina speaks Greek and 
Albanian, so his information is probably not absolutely correct. 

P. 32. For the summer climate in Macedonia and Epirus see, Leake, 
Northern Greece^ i. pp. 115, 268, iv. p. 114; Hogarth, Nearer East, pp. 
99 ff. ; Philippson, Mittelmeergebiet, pp. 123 ff. ; Tozer, Highlands of Turkey, 
ii. p. 199. 


P. 46. For the population of Samarina see, Weigand, Olympo-Walachen, 
p. 6; Nicolaidy, Les Turcs, etc., ii. p. 228 ; Cordescu, Istoricul ^coalelor 
Romdne din Tura'a^p^.I^Sff. ; 'Apa^avnvos, Xpovoypa(})ia, ii. p. 341 ; S^tfay, 
'OdoiTTopiKov, i. pp. 5o> 57- 

P. 48. Aigl'a is a corruption of the Greek "Ayios 'HXi'ar. 

P. 56. For an account of Vlach boys' games see, Papahagi, Din 
Literatura Poporana a Aromdnilor, pp. 71-186. 


A general account of Vlach dress is given by Weigand, Aromunen, i. 
pp. 260 ff. ; cf. also his book Vlacho-AIegleft, p. xxix. 


Pp. 87 ff. The original texts of the inscriptions in the churches are given 
in Appendix I. 

P. 87. The Church of St Elijah is mentioned in a klephtic song referring 
to Totskas, Passow, Carmina Popularia, No. xxi. 1. 24 ; 'Apa^arrtj/dy, '%<TpaTa 
'llTreipov, No. 7 1) !• 24 ; Xpr](TTo^a(T[\r]s, ''Edvina "J^a-para, No. 104, k 26. 

P. 94. For Vlach houses in other villages see, Weigand, Aromunen, i. 
p. 268 ; Papahagi, Basme Aromdne, p. viii. 


A description of the betrothal and wedding customs at Samarina has 
been given by IlaTrayewpytou in Aaoypa(pla, ii. pp. 432 ff., and those at Blatsa 


are recorded in the MaKeboviKov 'H/iepoXoytoi' for 1912, pp. 212 fF. The small 
book by Cosmescu, Datini Credinfe §i Supersti(ii Aromdne^h', contains a 
brief account of the customs at birth, marriage and death. Weigand in 
D/e Aronmnen^ ii. pp. 32 ff., 200 ff., briefly describes the marriage and burial 
customs. Some Vlach customs are mentioned by Marianu in his books on 
Roumanian folklore, which may be compared for parallel Roumanian 
observances. For Modern Greek customs the Volksleben der Neugriechen 
of B. Schmidt can be referred to and also the works of Politis. A Greek 
wedding in the Zaghori is described in 'EWtjvikos 4>iXoXoytK6y S/XXoyor, 
vol. 19, pp. 223 fif. The best account of Albanian customs is von Hahn's 
Albatiesische Sttidien. 

P. 103. The text is in IlaxTLKos, 'EWj^viku "l^ajmra, p. 269, No. 173 with 
four extra lines. 

P. 107. The original text is given by IlaTrayeoapytou, Aaoypa(pla, ii. p. 434, 
No. I. 

P. 107. The text is given in Appendix II, No. i. 

P. 107. A version of the text is given by Uanayfcopyiov, op. cit., p. 435, 
cf. Passow, Cartnina Popiilar-ia, No. Dii. 

P. 113. The text is given in Appendix II, No. 2. 

P. 113. The texts of songs for the dressing of the bride and the combing 
are given in Appendix II, Nos. 3, 4. 

P. 115. IlaTrayfcopytou prints the text, Aaoypacfjia, ii. p. 440. 

P. 115. The text is given by UaTrayfcopylov, op. cit.^ p. 439, No. i, 

P. 116. The Vlach text is given in Appendix II, No. 5. 

P. 116. IIuTrayecopyiou gives the text of this and the three following songs, 
op. cif., p. 441. 

P. 119. The texts are given by IlaTrayfcopy/ou, op. at., p. 444, No, i ; p. 443. 

P. 120. The texts of this and the next two songs are in Appendix II, 
Nos. 6-8, 

P. 121. The text of this song to the mutii is in IlaTrayecopytov, op. cii.^ 
p. 445. 

P, 123. The texts of these songs are in Appendix II, Nos, 9-1 1. 

P. 125. The text is in HaTTayewpylov, Op. cit., p. 437, 

P, 126. Vlach dirges are given by Weigand, Arojnunen, ii. pp. 202-210, 
and Papahagi, Di?t Literatura Poporand, pp. 963 ff.; cf. Fauriel, Chants 
populaires de la Grece moderne. 


For Vlach folklore the most comprehensive work is Papahagi, Din 
Lite7'atura Poporatid a Aromdnilor ; much will be found in the works of 
Cosmescu referred to for Chapter VI and in Weigand, Aro7nunen, ii. pp. 
1 16 ff. Papahagi, Basjne Aromdne is a good collection of folk tales. Parallel 
Roumanian, Albanian and Greek customs are treated by Marianu, von Hahn, 
B. Schmidt and Politis whose books have already been quoted in Chapter 


VI. Other books on Greek folklore are Lawson, Modern Greek Folklore^ 
and Hamilton, Greek Saints and their Festivals. 

P. 1 29. For the fair of Mavronoro see Pouqueville, Voyage de la Grece^ 
ii. p. 495 ; 'ETTeTT/pk ITapi/ao-trov, 1902, p. 142. 

P. 130. The texts of the first two songs are in Appendix II, Nos. 12, 13. 
A version of the third is given by Weigand, Aromimen, ii. p. 88, No. 59. 

P. 132. For Pirpiruna songs see Weigand, Aro7imnen, ii. p. 136, No. 80, 
and Papahagi, Literatura Poporatid^ pp. 723-729. 

P. 137. These Christmas songs are in Appendix II, Nos. 14, 15. 

P. 138. On Karkandzal'i see Lawson, op. cit., pp. 190 ff. 

P. 138. For the mumming at Epiphany see Annual of the British School 
at Athens, xvi. pp. 232-253. The Thracian festivals are described by 
D 3.\vk'ms, /ournal of Hellenic Studies., 1906, pp. 191 ff., and Katsarow, 
Archiv.f. Religionszuissenschaft, 1908, pp. 407 ; for its relation to the Greek 
drama see Ridgeway, Origin of Tragedy., and Nilsson in Neiie fahrbilcher f. d. 
klassische Altertum, xxvii. pp. 677 ff. For the Albanian custom see von 
Hahn, Albanesische Studien, i. p. 156. 


P. 114. Baldacci's journey is described in 'ETrerrjph Uapvaacrov, iii. pp. 
152 ff. 

P. 146. For the tshelnikU system see Weigand, Aromunen, i. p. 186. 

P. 148. References to Yanni al Preftu will be found in 'Apa/3a^rtvoj, 
XpOPoypa(f)La, AapTrpi8r]s and XpT]crTol3a(ri\r]S, 'EdviKci "A(Tp,aTa. 

P. 149. The text is given in Appendix III, No. i. 

P. 149. The text is in 'Apa^avnvos, "^apara 'Hneipov, No. 50 ; cf. 
Papahagi, Literatura Poporand, p. 912, No. xxiv. 

P. 150. The text is in 'ApajSavrivos, o/>. cit., No. 52, and XpTjo-To/Sao-iXT/y, 
op. cit., No. 46. 

P. 152. The tale of Demetrius is in Pouqueville, Hist, de la Regeniration 
de la Grece, i. pp. 339 ff. 

P. 154. The song is in 'Apa^avTiv6i,of>. cit., No. 92. 

P. 155. For the rising of 1854 see Finlay, Hist, of Greece, vii. pp. 221 ff. 
(ed. Tozer), Parliamentary Papers 1854, Correspondence respecting Relations 
of Greece and TH7'key, 'Apaj3avTiv6s,''A(rpaTa 'Hireipov, Nos. 27, 32. 

P. 157. The song is in Appendix TTI, No. 2. 

P. 159. For the rising of 1878 see ^e'i^dvrjs, 'UnavdaTaa-is rov 18^8. 

P. 161. The song is in Weigand, Olympo-Walachen, p. 131, No. xx. 

P. r62. This song and the next are in Appendix III, Nos. 3, 4; cf. 
Papahagi, Literatura Poporajid, p. 1014, Nos. xxi, xxii. 

P. 163. For the tale of Karadzhas, see Zuca, Istorioare dift Epir, pp. 39 ff. ; 
the song is in Appendix III, No. 5. A pamphlet describing Zhurkas as a 
hero was published in Athens in 1880, 'AvBpayadrjpara rov BaaiXeiov ZovpKa, 
by Koritsias, Papadhopulos and Bosos, 


p. 165. This and the next two songs are in Appendix III, Nos. 6, 7, 8. 
P. 166. For the exploits of Katarah'ia, see Chirol, '7\mxt Greek and 
Turk^ pp. Baft". : he refers to Leonidha on p. 173 and Davelis on p. 170. 
P. 168. This song and the next are in Appendix III, Nos. 9, 10. 


For other books on this district see Weigand, Aromunen, i., 'Apa^avrivos, 
Xpovoypa<pia, Anfinpldrjs, 'HTTfipcoriKa MeXerij/iara, and ZayopiaKci, and Cordescu, 
Istoricul ^coalelor Romdne din Turcia. 

P. 183. Mr. Sokolis' paper is in the 'E-n-erTjpls Uapvaacrov, 1883, p. 298, and 
is called Ilepi 'Hneipov Koi 'AXfiavlas. 

P. 192. For the epic of Ali Pasha see 2d6as, 'laropiKai Aiarpijiai, pp. I23ff. ; 
of. 'Apa^avTivos, 'IdTopia rov 'AXij Uaaui, pp. 523 fif. ; Leake, Northern Greece, 
i. pp. 463 fif. 

P. 193. For Ayios Kosmas see 'S.adas, NeofWrjviKrj ^tXoXo-yia, pp. 487 fif. 

P. 197. The song is given by Papahagi, Literatiira Poporand, p. 1026, 
No. xlii. 

P. 203. For the tale of the mountain demons see Zuca, Istorioare din Epir, 
pp. 46 ff. ; Papahagi, Basme Aromdne, No. 3 ; Uapvacraos, 1890, pp. 347 ff* 


For this chapter apart from our own researches the principal authorities 
are the works of Leake, Weigand and Diamandi mentioned in the biblio- 
graphy to Chapter I. There is also some information to be found in the 
periodical Lumina which used to be published at Monastir. 

P. 215. For Muskopol'e see the songs in Weigand, Aromunen, ii. p. 150, 
No. 91 ; Papahagi, Literatura Poporana, pp. 994, loio, Nos. i, xvi, xvii. 

P. 220. For the Gramos Vlachs in the Meglen see Lilicea Pindului, 
i. p. 65. 


For books on the Vlach language see the works of Weigand quoted in 
the bibliography to Chapter I, the various articles in the Jahresberichte of 
the Roumanian Seminar at Leipzig ; Densusianu's Histoire de la langue 
roumaine and Miklosich's publication of the books of Kavalliotis and 
Daniel in the Wiener Denkschri/ien for 1882. In Greek the best book is 
the Ae^iKov Trjs K(>vT(Tof:i\axiK^s rXc^aa-Tjs of NtKoXatSi^s, to which Capidan has 
published a Rdponse Critique. G. Meyer's Neugriechische Studien and 
Murnu's Rutndnische Lchnworter in Neugriechischen illustrate its relations 
with Greek. For neighbouring languages the Albanian, Bulgarian and 
Roumanian grammars of Weigand, G. Meyer and Pu^cariu may be 
consulted. The best works on modern Greek are Thumb's Handbuch 
which has been translated into English and Hatzidakis' Einleitung. A 


good collection of Vlach texts is given by Papahagi in his Basme Aromdne. 
The earliest students of Vlach were Lucius who collected a few words in his 
De Regno Dalmatics et Croatia: and Thunmann in his Geschichte dcr 
bstlichefi europaischen Volker. The oldest monuments of Vlach are the 
lexicons of Kavalliotis and Daniel and the Codex Demonie published in the 
Jahresberichte of the Roumanian Seminar at Leipzig. There is no Vlach- 
English dictionary, but the works of Weigand and Papahagi contain useful 
glossaries; Nikolaidhis' lexicon is also useful, but the employment of the 
Greek alphabet is a very serious inconvenience. There are two Vlach- 
Roumanian dictionaries by Dalametra and Mihaileanu. Modern Vlach 
literature is represented by two or three local newspapers such as Dreptatea 
published in Salonica and periodicals like Lumitta, Grain Bun, Lilicea 
Pindului, all printed in Bucharest, and Flanibura printed in Salonica. The 
four volumes of the Biblioteca Luinina of which Zuca's htorioare din Epir 
is the second were issued from Bucharest, but Zicu Araia's version of " Enoch 
Arden " was published at Monastir. Both Zuca and Araia write in the 
Samarina dialect. 


The chief ancient authorities have been mentioned in the text and most 
if not all of them are to be found in the Bonn Corpus of Byzantine Historians. 
The later period of the Asan kingdom is dealt with by Georgius Acropolita ; 
most of the Byzantine Histories and many of the Chronicles of the Crusaders 
contain references to Vlachs. Besides the main modern authorities men- 
tioned in the bibliography to Chapter I are the following : 

Arginteanu, Istoria Romhiiilor Macedoneni, 

Boga, Romdnii din Macedonia. 

F inlay, History of Greece. 

lorga, Geschichte des rumdftischen Vblkes. 

Jirecek, Geschichte der Bulgaren. 

Miller, History of the Ottotnan Empire. 

Murnu, Vlahia Mare. 

Pic, Ueber die Abstatnmiing der Rumdnen. 

Roesler, Romdnische Studien. 

Rubin, Les Rou mains de Mac^doine. 

Thunmann, Geschichte der ostlichen europaischen Volker. 

Xenopol, Les Roumains au Moyen Age ; Histoire des Roiimains ; 

and Peisker's chapter on the " Asiatic Background" in the first volume of 

the Cambridge Medieval History. 


In this vocabulary will be found all the Vlach words in the text and 
appendices. It is hoped that it will prove useful to any readers who 
wish to translate for themselves the texts given with the aid of the 
grammar in Chapter XI. The abbreviations used are those common 
in dictionaries, v. for verb, n. for noun, and so on. As regards verbs 
the form given is the first person singular of the present indicative, and 
the infinitive and preterite, where known, are added. The numbers 
I, II, III, IV indicate the conjugations of the verbs in question, which 
are explained on pages 242-248. The letters g', h' , k' , I' , n' and h are 
grouped under G, H, K, L and iV, and d and d under A. 

a, prep.; with ace. at, to ; with gen. and dat. of nouns, pronouns 
and adjectives as a sign of the case, see pp. 234, 235, 238. 

adarii, v, I, make, do ; adrare, adrai. 

adete, n. fem., custom. 

adhimta, n. iem.,fine home-spun. 

adukii, v. Ill, bring, fetch ; adutseare, adushu. 

adunare, n. fem., meeting. 

adzhungu, v. Ill, arrive, reach, be enough ; adzhundzeare, adz- 

aestu, pron., this. 

afendi, n. masc, master. 

afiu, V. I, find ; aflare, afiai ; reflexive, mi aflu, / am born. 

afstriaku, n. masc, Austrian gold piece. 

aghoyie, n. fem., hire 0/ mules and horses, jare, cost of journey. 

aghrapnie, n. fem., vigil, watch-night service. 

aghunesku, v. IV, drive away, expel ; aghunire, aghunii. 

agudesku, v. IV, hit, strike, attack ; agudire, agudii. 

ahantu, rel. pron., as many as. 

aieri, adv., yesterday. 

aistu, dialectic form for aestu. 

akatsu, v. I, seize, start ; akatsare, akatsai. 

ak'ikasesku, v. IV, understand ; ak'ikasire, ak'ikasiJ. 

aklo, aklotse, adv., there. 

akresku, v. II, grow, increase ; akrishtearc, akriskui. 


akumbarii, v. I, buy ; akumbarare, akumbarai. 

al', dialectic form for I'i. 

al, abbreviation for alii. 

alagii, V. I, wander ; alagare, alagai. 

alak'esku, v. IV, stick ; alak'ire, alak'ii. 

alaksesku, v. IV, change one's clothes, dress ; alaksire, alaksii. 

alaksimindu, n. neut. ; change of clothing. 

alantu, pron., the other. 

alasii, v. I, leave, let alone, abandon ; alasare, alasai. 

alavdu, v. I, praise ; alavdare, alavdai. 

albiT, adj., white. 

ale, the gen. and dat. sing, of the fern, article, 

alegii, v. III^ choose, pick out ; aledzeare, alepshu. 

a I'ei, pronom. adj. indecl., her ; see a lui ; also gen. and dat. fern. 

sing, of elu. 
alinii, v. I, climb, ascend ; alnare, alnai. 
alithia, n. fern., truth. 
aliura, adv., somewhere else. 
alka, n. fern., crearn. 

a lor, pronom. adj. indecl., their ; also gen. and dat. plur. of elu. 
alotii, n. neut., yeast. 
altu, indef. pronoun, other. 
alu, gen. and dat. sing of the masc. article, 
aluna, n. fern., nut. 
alunii, n. masc, nut tree. 
a lui, pronom. adj. indecl., his ; fern, a I'ei ; really gen. sing. masc. 

and fern, of elu. 
am, V. II, have ; aveare, avui. 
amare, n. fern., sea. 
ameru, see meru. 
ameu, pronom. adj., my, mine. 

amintu, v. I, obtain, acquire^ take ; amintare, amintai. 
amo, adv., now. 
analtu, adj., high, tall. 
analtu, adv., up, upstairs, alojt. 
anapudhu, adj., upside down, mixed, disturbed. 
andihristu, n. masc. Antichrist ; fem. andihrista. 
andreptu, adv., straight ahead. 
andri, n. masc, robe ; see p. 64. 
anemi, n. fem., skein-holder. 
Anglic, n. fem., England. 
anostru, pronom. adj., our. 
anojde, n. fem., upper room. 
anu, n. masc, year. 
aoa, aoatse, adv., here. 
aoaltari, adv., the day before yesterday. 
aoatse, see aoa. 


apa, n. fern., water. 

apala, n. fem., loose lump of carded wool. 

apleku, V. I, bend, stoop ; aplikare, aplikai. 

aplikatoara, n. fem., milch-ewe. 

apofasi, n. fem., determination, decision. 

apoia, adv., afterwards. 

apostusesku, v. IV, be tired ; apostusire, apostusii. 

aproape, adv., near. 

apufasesku, v. IV, decide, determine ; apufasire, apufasix. 

aradu, v. Ill, laugh, deceive ; aradeare, arashu. 

arapu, n. masc, Arab. 

arapu, v. IV, seize, snatch ; arak'ire, arak'ii. 

aratse, adj., cold. 

arau, n. neut., river. 

axau, adj., wrong, harmful. 

ardu, V. Ill, burn ; ardeare, arshu. 

arkoare, n. fem., cold, dialectic form of rakoare. 

aroshu, adj., red. 

arsaru, v. IV,jump, leap ; arsarire, arsarii. 

aruga, n. fem., exit jrom sheep fold. 

aruku, v. I, throw ; arkare, arkai. 

arumanu, n. masc, Vlach ; fem. arumana. 

arupu, V. Ill, tear, break ; arupeare, arupshu. 

asans, adv., to-day. 

ashteptu, v. I, wait, wait for, expect ; ashtiptare, ashtiptai. 

asime, n. fem., silver. 

ashi, ashitsi, adv., 50, yes. 

askundu, \ . Ill, hide ; askundeare, askumshu. 

aspargu, v. Ill, spoil, break, change a large coin for small change ; 

aspardzeare, asparshu. 
aspunu, see spunu. 

astingu, v. Ill, quench, extinguish ; astindzeare, asteshu. 
atau, pronoun, adj., thy, thine. 
atsets, contracted form of adutsetsi from aduku. 
atseu, pron., that. 
atsia, adv., there, here. 
atumtsea, adv., then. 

aungu, V. Ill, anoint, smear ; aundzeare, aumshu. 
aushu, n. masc, old man. 
avdu, V. IV, hear, listen ; avdzare, avdzai. 
Avgustu, n. masc, August. 
avostru, pron. adj., your. 
ayine,n, iem., vineyard. 

azboru, only in phrase si dutseare azboru, see p. 52. 
azhungu, dialectic form of adzhufigu. 


bade, dialectic form of pade. 

baghanika, n. fern., batter cake. 

bagu, V. I, put, place ; bagare, bagai. 

bairii, n. neut., necklace. 

baktshe, n. masc, garden. 

bana, n. fern., life. 

banedzu, v. I, live \ banare, banai. 

barbatii, n. masc, man, husband. 

batal'e, n. fern., beetling mill. 

batii, V. II, beat, hit ; bateare, batui. 

beau, V. II, drink ; beare, biui. 

birbeatse, dialectic form for birbeku. 

birbeku, n. masc, ram. 

bisearika, n. fern., church. 

bitisesku, v. TV , finish ; bitisire, bitisii. 

boti, n. masc, ox. 

branii, n. neut., sash. 

bre, exclam., ho ! hi ! 

bresku, dialectic form for mundresku, mutresku. 

bufii, n. masc, owl. 

bubghala, n. fem., a sweet; see p. 122. 

buhare, n. masc, chimney. 

bunu, adj., /D'ooat. 


d, abbreviation of di. 

da, affirm., yes. 

dada, n. fem., mother. 

dala, n. fem., buttermilk. 

dapoia, adv., afterwards. 

dau, V. irreg., give ; dare, dedui. 

davani, n. fem., wooden ceiling. 

depunu, v. Ill, descend, make to descend ; dipuneare, dipushu. 

dhipla, adv., double, by side oj. 

di, prep., 0/ ; di tu, /rom; di pri, oz^^ 0/. 

di, conj., and. 

dineavra, adv.,yz«s/ Moto. ; 

dipartosii, adj., distant. 

dipii, adv., altogether, completely. 

dipunu, see depunii. 

disfakii, v. Ill, unfasten, open ; disfatseare, disfetshu. 

dislaksesku, v. IV, undress ; dislaksire, dislaksii. 

dispostusesku, v. IV, stop from being tired, rest ; dispostusire, 

doamna, n. fem., mistress. 


doi, num., two ; fern, doaua. 

domnu, n. masc, master. 

dormu, v. IV, sleep ; durn'ire, durn'ii. 

dospradzatse, num., twelve. 

drama, n. fem., switch. 

drashteala, n. fem., washing and bleaching tub. 

duk'esku, v. IV, understand ; duk'ire, duk'ii. 

duku, V. Ill, lead ; dutseare, dushu : most common in reflexive 

form mi duku, / go. 
dulape, n. fem., cupboard. 
dultse, adj., sweet. 

duluma, n. masc, woman's long coat. 
Dumnidzeu, n. masc., God. 
dupa, prep., after. 

dzaku, V. Ill, tell, say ; dzatseare, dzashu. 
dzatse, num., ten. 

dzeana, n. fem., cheek, mountain ridge. 
dzhibadane, n. fem., waistcoat. 
dzhoku, V. I, dance ; dzhukare, dzhukai. 
dzhone, n. masc, young man, youth, gallant. 
dzhumitate, v. fem., halj. 
dzhuneale, n. masc, young man, youth. 
dzua, n. fem., day. 


ea, exclam., see ! 

eapa, n. fem., tnare. 

efthinitate, n. fem., cheapness. 

elu, pron., he ; fem. ea, she ; see p. 238. 

epidhis, conj,, since. 

esku, V. aux., be ; h'ire, earam, fui ; see h'iu. 

estan, adv., this year. 

esu, V. IV, go out ; ishire, ishii. 

etiu, n, masc, cause of, reason for , always personal. 

eu, pron., /. 

fagii, n. masc, beech tree. 

fakii, V. Ill, make ; fatseare, fetshu. 

fandana, n. fem., spring, source ; dialectic form of fantatia. 

fantana, n. fem., spring, source. 

fara, prep., without. 

fatsa, n. fem., face. 

feata, n. fem., girl, daughter, 

fitika, dim. of feata. 


fitshorii, n. masc, boy, son. 

floku, n. neut., flock of wool. 

flurie, n. fern., gold florin. 

foale, n. fem., skin bag (for carrying cheese, wine, water, or the 

foame, n. fem., hunger. 
foku, n. neut., fire. 
frandza, n. fem., leaf. 

frangu, v. Ill, break ; frandzearc, fredzhu. 
frapsinu, n. masc, ash tree. 
frate, n. masc, brother. 
frika, n. fem., fear, fright. 
frundidha, n. fem., thought, care. 
fugu, V. IV, flee, go away ; fudzirc, fudzai. 
fukara, adj., poor. 
fumeal'e, n. fem., family. 
fumu, n. masc, smoke. 
fun da, n. fem., tassel. 
furka, n. fem., distaff. 
furishaoa, n, fem., costtime, dress. 
furtatii, n. masc, groomsman. 
furtutira, n. fem., loading pole. 
furii, n. masc, thief, robber, brigand. 

G, G' 

galeata, n. fem., milk pail. 

galina, n. fem., hen. 

gambro, n. masc, bridegroom ; dialectic form of ghambro. 

gamila, n. fem., camel. 

gapii, dialectic form of kapu. 

garambo, dialectic form of gambro. 

garvanitshu, n. masc, homespun (medium). 

garvano, n. masc, homespun (coarse). 

gasa, dialectic form of kasa, but only in phrase in gasa. 

g'atru, dialectic form of yatru. 

gavu, adj., blind. 

ghalika, n. fem., basket. 

ghambro, n. masc, bridegroom. 

ghrapsesku, v. IV, ivrite ; ghrapsire, ghrapsii. 

ghrapto, adj., written. 

g'ilie, dialectic form of yilie. 

g'ine, adv.. well ; adverb of bunii. 

g'inu, dialectic form of yinu. 

g'iptu, dialectic form of yiptu. 

g'iro, n. masc, time, season ; dialectic form of k'iro. 

g'iza, n. fem., boiled butter milk. 


g'izirsesku, v. IV, wander ; g'izirsire, g'izirsii. 

glaru, adj., mad. 

gor, only in adv. phrase pi gor, downhill. 

gradina, n. fern., garden. 

greku, n. masc, Greek. 

grenda, n. fern., tree-trunk, log. 

gresku, v. IV, call, shout ; grire, grii. 

gxeu, adj., heavy, serious. 

groapa, n. fern., hollow, grave, pit. 

grossu, adj., thick. 

gugutsha, n. fern., darling. 

gura, n. fem., mouth. 

gustu, n. neixt., taste, pleasure. 

H, H' 

haiate, n, fem., cloister. 

hairlitka, exclam.. Here's to the wedding ! 

hambla, adv., doivnstairs ; sometimes almost as a noun, ground 

hani, n. fem., inn, resting-place. 
haraua, n. fem., yoy, pleasure, wedding. 
hare, n. fem., talent, inclination, disposition. 
hasku, V. I, gape, yawn ; haskare, haskai. 
hazo, adj., mad, silly. 

h'erbu, v. Ill, boil, cook ; h'irbeare, h'ershu. 
h'igu, V. Ill, fix, insert ; h'idzeare, hipshu. 
h'il'e, n. fem., daughter. 
h'il'u, n. masc, son. 

h'ima, adv., below ; used mainly of the lower coimtry, the plains. 
h'iu, V. aux., be ; h'ire, earam, fui ; see esku. 
h'ivresku, v. IV, have fever ; h'ivrire, h'ivrii. 
hoara, n. fem., village. 

hranesku, v. IV, feed, cherish ; hranire, hranii. -: 

Hristo, n. masc, Christ. 
hrisusesku, v. IV, gild, make of gold ; hrisusire, hrisusii. 

i, dialectic form for eastc, 3rd pers. present indie, of esku and h'iu. 

i . . . i, conj., either . . . or. 

iara, n. fem., winter ; dialectic form of iarna. 

iara, adv., again. 

iara, dialectic form of eara. 

iarba, n. fem., grass. 

iarna, n. fem., winter. 

ilik'ie, n. fem., full age, right age, age. 


imblinu, adj., /«// ; dialectic form of implinu. ' 

imnu, V. I, walk ; imnare, imnai. 

impartu, v. IV, divide, separate , impartsire, impartsii. 

implinu, adj., full. 

in, prep., in. 

inate, n. fem., anger. 

indregu, adj., whole, complete. 

ing'os, adv., below. 

ingrunare, n. fem., crowning, marriage. 

iflgrunu, v. I, crown, marry ; iiigrunare, iiigrunai. 

inkalliku, v. I, mount a horse, ride ; inkallikare, inkallikai. 

insorii, v. I, marry (of a man) ; insurare, insurai. 

intselegu, v. Ill, understand ; intseledzeare. 

invesku, v. II, clothe, dress ; invishteare, inviskui. 

io, dialectic form of eu. 

ishire, see esu. 

isusesku, v. IV, betroth ; isusire, isnsii. 

itie, n. fem., cause, reason. 

iu, adv. rel. and interrog., where. 

iuva, adv., nowhere. 

K, K' 
ka, conj., like, as. 
ka, intensive part., move. 
ka, conj., that, because, since. 
ka si, conj., if. 

kadii, V. II, fall ; kadeare, kadzui. 
kaftu, V. I, ask for, look for ; kaftare, kaftai. 
kairu, n, neut., handful of carded wool. 
kaldu, adj., warm, hoi. 
kale, n. fem., road. 
k'ale, n. fem., skin, hide. 

kali mera afendiko, good day, master ; a Greek phrase, 
kalo s ton bistiko, welcome to the trusty shepherd boy ; a Greek 

kaltsuveta, n. fem., garter. 
kalu, n, masc, horse. 
kalugru, n. masc, monk. 
kameasha, n. fem., shirt. 
kanale, n. fem., mill-stream. 
kanda, conj., like, as if. 

kandu, v. I, sing ; kandare, kandai ; dialectic form of kantu. 
kandu, conj., when ; also interrogative, 
kanc, n. masc, dog. 
kanii, indef. pron., one, some. 
kapitin'u, n. masc, pillar, cushion. 
kapra, n. fem., goat. 


k'aptine, n. masc, comb. 

kapu, n. neut., head. 

kar sij dialectic form of ka si. 

kara, conj., when. 

karavi, n. fem., boat, Jerry boat. 

kare, rel. and interrog. pron., who ? 

karlibana, n. fem., shepherd's crook. 

karkalanza, n. masc, a demon. 

karkandza, n. masc, a demon. 

karkliku, n. masc, forty para piece. 

kamu, adj., snubnose, a person with a bridgeless nose. 

karte, n. fem., letter, book. 

karuta, n. fem., water shoot for mill. 

kasa, n. fem., house, hut. 

kashari, n. fem., shepherd's camp and cheese factory. 

kashii, n. masc, cheese; kash kaval, special kind of cheese; in 

Italian, caccia cavallo. 
katasarku, n. vhslSC, flannel. 
kate, distrib., apiece, each. 
katfe, n. masc, a kind of stuff. 
kathe, adj. indecl., each, every. 
kati, n. masc, judge. 

katoyie, n. fem., storeroom on ground floor. 
katra, prep., towards, about. 
k'atra, n. fem., rock, stone. 
katrani, n. fem., pitch. 
katse, interrog. adv., why ? 
katshua, dialectic form of katshula. 
katshula, n. fem., fez. 

katu, rel. and interrog., hozv much ? or, as much as. 
kazane, n. fem., cauldron. 
k'eliposhe, n. fem., embroidered fez ; see p. 65. 
k'eptu, n. neut., breast, chest. 
k'ibape, n. fern., roast meat ; see p. 42. 
k'in'isesku, v. IV, start, move ; k'in'isire, k'in'isii. 
k'inu, n. masc, pine tree. 
k'ipeng'i, n. fem., wooden balcony ; see p. 98. 
k'ipitoru, adj., peaked, sharp, pointed. 
k'iradzhi, n. masc, muleteer. 
k'iraua, n. fem., Turkish woman. 
k'isavro, n. masc, treasure. 
kleaie, n. fem. , key. 
kl'emu, V. I, call ; kl'imare, kl'imai. 
klidhona, n. fem., trinket for fortune telling. 
klinu, n. neut., pleat, fold. 
koada, n. fem., tail. 
koasta, n. fem., rib, side. 


kofa, n. fern., wooden flask. 

korbuj n. masc, crow ; or metaphorical, poor wretch. 

komu, n. neut., cornel, cornel tree. 

kornu, n. neut., horn. 

krepu, V. I, crack, worry ; kripare, kripai. 

krishtinu, n. masc. Christian, fern, krishtina. 

ksenu, adj., strange, foreign ; also used as a noun, fern, kseana. 

ku, prep., with. 

kukotu, n. masc, cock. 

kukuveaua, n. fem., owl. 

kulaku, n. masc, cake, bun, loaf of bread [pi a special kind, see 

p. lOl). 
kulauz, n. masc, guide, informer. 
kumu, rel. adv., how ? 
kunak'e, n. fem., camp, governor's office. 
kundushu, n. mzisc., jacket for a man. 
kunosku, v. II, know ; kunushteare, kunuskui. 
kupalsharu, n. masc, i^i</?a/s/ja>' (see p. 30); fem. kupatshara. 
kupatshu, n. masc, oak tree. 
kurkubeta, n. fem., vegetable marrow. 
kuskru, n. masc, relation by marriage, wedding guest. 
kusurinii, n. masc, cousin ; fem. kusurina. 
kutaru, n. neut., sheep fold. 

kutsutu, n. neut., knife. 

L. L' 

1, abbreviation for la, la, or la. 

r, abbreviation for I'i. 

la, prep., to ; pri la, on to. 

la, la, pronom. adj. enclitic, their. 

lai, a polite form for addressing men to call their attention when 

one does not know or does not wish to use the personal name, 
laiii, adj., black. 
laku, n. neut., lake, pool. 
lakrima, n. fem., tear. 
lala, n. masc, uncle. 
lana, n. fem., wool. 
lapuda, n. fem., sock. 
lapte, n. masc, milk. 
largu, adj., wide. 
I'aru, adj., piebald. 
I'au, v. I, take ; Tare, loai. 
lea, fem. of lai. 
lemnu, n. neut., wood, timber. 
I'epure, n. masc, hare. 
letu, V. IV, go out ; litire (liteare). litii. 


I'i, pron., gen. and dat. fern, and masc. of elu. 

I'i, pronom. adj. enclitic ; his, her, its. 

ligutsharu, n. masc, mummer. 

Witshe, n. iem. , fiower. 

limba, n. fem., tongue, language. 

lipon, interj., well. 

lipsesku, V. IV, be wanting ; lipsire, lipsii ; impersonal use, lip- 

seashte, it must, it is necessary. 
lira, n. fem., pound. 
lishk'itoria, n. neut., skein-winder. 
litesku, see letu. 
livadhe, n. fem., meadow. 
lokii, n. neut., place. 
lukredzu, v. I, work ; lukrare, lukrai. 
lukru, n. neut., work, business. 
lukume, n. fem., Turkish delight. 
lume, n. fem., world, people. 
luiigu, adj., /oMg'. 
lun'ina, n. fem., light. 
lupu, n. masc, wolf. 


m, abbreviation for mi or mu. 

m, before b, abbreviation for in. 

ma, conj., but. 

ma, adv., more, 

maie, n. fem., mother, old woman, grandmother. 

maika, n. fem., mother. 

Maiu, n. masc. May. 

maka, conj., if. 

makare, n. iem., food ; see maku. 

maku, V. I, eat ; mkare, mkai ; cf . maiigu. 

malliotu, n. masc, woollen overcoat. 

mana, n. fem., hand. 

mane, adv., to-morrow. 

mangu, v. I, eat ; mangare, mafigai ; see maku. 

maramnatu, adj., melancholy, unhappy. 

marango, n. masc, carpenter. 

maratu, adj., unhappy. 

mardzine, n. masc, edge. 

mare, adj., big, great. 

maritu, v. I, marry (of a woman") ; maritare, marital. 

markatu, n. masc, yiaurti, a kind of junket. 

marmaru, n. neut., marble, marble block. 

martare, n. fem., marriage, see maritii. 

Martsu, n. masc, March. 

masa, contraction for muma sa. 


maseaua, n. iem.,jaw. 

masturu, n. masc, mason, skilled crajtsman. 

mata, condensed form of muma ta. 

mathima, n. fern., lesson. 

matritsa, n. fern., milch-ewe. 

matsu, n. neut., entrails, usually in plural only. 

mbartu, dialectic form for impartu. 

mbl'eare, dialectic form of ml'eare. 

mbrostu, adj.^ upright, dialectic form of improstu. 

measa, n. fem., table. 

meru, n, neut., apple, apple tree. 

mesku, v. II, treat ; mishteare, miskui 

metagresku, v. IV, call again ; metagrire, metagrii. 

mg'are, dialectic form of ml'eare. 

mi, ace. of eu. 

mihrisesku, v. IV, bend, make smaller ; mihriseir, mihrisii. 

mindarlik'i, n. fem., dais, platform ; see p. 96. 

mindu, dialectic form of amintu. 

mindzhune, n. fem., lie, untruth. 

mine, ace. of eu ; sometimes used as a nom., /. 

minte, n. fem., mind, sense. 

misandra, n. fem., cupboard, sideboard ; see p. 96. 

mishkatura, n. fem., scrap, fragment. 

misohori, n. fem., central square or market-place of a village. 

ml'eare, n. fem., woman, wife. 

moarte, n. fem., death. 

moasha, n. fem., old woman. 

molonoti, con]., for all that. 

mor, exclam. ; addressed to woman only, generally used with 

terms of endearment, 
morminde, n. masc, grave, monument. 
moru, V. IV, die ; murire, murii. 
mshatu, see mushatii. 
mu, pronom. adj. enclitic, my. 
multu, adj., m^ich, many. 
muma, n. fem., mother. 
munde, dialectic form of munte. 

mundresku, v. IV, look at ; mundrire, mundrii ; cf. mutresku. 
munte, n. masc, mountain, hill. 
mushatu, adj., beautiful. 

mutresku, v. IV, look at ; mutrire, mutrii ; cf. mundresku. 
mutii, V. I, move, disturb, bestir ; mtare, mtai. 

N, N', N 

n', abbreviation for n'i ; also reflexive pronoun for first pers. sing. 
n, before g, abbreviation for in. 


n, abbreviation for na, na or nu. 

na, na, abbreviation for una. 

na, na, pronom. adj., enclitic, our. 

na, na, gen. and dat. of noi ; also reflexive pronoun with verbs 

for first pers. plur. 
nafoara, adv., outside. 
n'agra, adj., obs., fern, of negru. 
naka, adv., perhaps. 

namaru, n. neut., animal, a head oj sheep or cattle, 
naparte, adv. , on the other side. 
napoi, adv., after, yiext, then. 
naskantsi, indef . pron. , some. 
nasu, pron., he ; fern. nasa. 
natheama, adv., a little. 
naundru, adv., within. 
ndoi, see doi, 

ndrebii, v. I, ask, question ; ndribare, ndribai. 
ne, affirm., yes. 

negru, adj. obs., black ; fern, n'agra. 
neka . . . neka, conj., neither . . . nor. 
ligatshu, V. I, he angry, quarrel ; Agatshare, figatshai. 
figalliku, dialectic form of inkalliku. 
iigoa, adv., on this side, near. 
iigrunare, see iiigrunu, iiigrunare. 
n'i, gen. and dat. of eu. 
n'i, pronom. adj. enclitic, my. 
ni . . . ni, con]., neither . . . nor. 
n'iku, adj., small. 

nikuk'irata, n. fern., household, household property. 
nikuk'iru, adj., rich. 
n'ile, num., a thousand. 
ninga, prep., near. 
ninka, adv., still, again. 
nipotu, n. masc, nephew, grandson. 
niruh'ite, n. fem., sink. 
niveasta, n. fem., bride. 

nkredu, v, IT, trust, believe ; nkredere, nkridzui. 
noara, n. fem., daughter-in-law. 
noaua, num., nine. 
noi, pron., we, plur. of eu. 
nomu, n. neut., law. 
nou, adj., new. 
nu, neg., not, no. 
n'u, pronom. adj. enclitic, my. 
nuda, n. masc, room, sitting-room ; cf. uda. 
numirii, v. I, count, number ; numirare, numirai. 
numta, n. fem., wedding. 


nuna. n. fem., godmother. 
nunii, n. masc, godjather. 
nverinu, v. I, be melancholy ; nverinare, nverinai. 


o, pron., ace. fem. of elu. 
oaie, n. fem., sheep. 
oara, n. fem., hour, time. 
oaspe, n. masc., guest, Jriend. 
obdzatse, num., eighty. 
oh'i, neg., no. 
oi, plur. of oaie. 
old'u, n. masc, eye. 
omos, conj., however. 
omu, n. masc, man. 
optu, num., eight. 
ou, n. neut., egg. 

pade, n. fem., meadow, green, level space. 

pahnie, n. fem., stable. 

paimane, adv., the day after to-morrow. 

palate, n. fem., palace. 

palathiri, n. fem., zvindow. 

pali, adv., again. 

palto, n. neut., greatcoat. 

pampordzhi, n. masc, captain oj a steamer. 

pana, prep., as far as. 

panathima, exclam., curse upon. 

panayiru, n. neni. , feast , festival. 

pane, n. fem., bread. 

papu, n. masc, grandfather. 

para, n. masc, money ; a para. 

parakalie, n. fem., entreaty, prayer. 

parakalsesku, v. IV, request, entreat ; parakalsire, parakalsii. 

paramithu, n. neut., tale, story. 

parinte, n. masc, parent, priest. 

parte, n. fem., part. 

parii, v. II, appear, seem ; pareare, parui ; usually impersonal, pare, 

it seems, etc. 
paru, n. masc, post. 

pasku, V. II, pasture, feed ; pashteare, paskui, 
patridha, n. iem., fatherland. 
patru, num., four. 
patrudzatse, num.,_/o>'^>'. 


patu, n. neut., bottom, base. 

pazare, n. fern., market, market-place, market-day. 

peashte, n. vsi^sc.,fish ; dialectic form of pesku. 

penitadha, n. iem.,Jarewell gijt ; see p. 42. 

periusie, n. fem., property. 

pi, dialectic form of pri. 

pikuraru, n. masc, shepherd. 

pileksesku, v. IV, cut, hew, carve ; pileksire, pileksii. 

pionellu, n. masc, peacock. 

pishli, n., jacket Jor a man. 

pistipsesku, v. IV, believe, think ; pistipsire, pistipsii. 

pisto, adj., trusty, J aith Jul. 

pita, n. fem., pasty. 

pitreku, v. II, send ; pitritseare, pitrikui. 

pitrika, n. fem., lump 0) loose wool. 

pitrunikl'e, n. fem., partridge. 

pitrupu, n. masc, warden, overseer, church warden. 

plaiagu, V. Ill, cry, weep ; plandzeare, plimshu. 

platesku, v. IV, pay ; platire, platii. 

plimshu, preterite of plaftgu. 

plitsa, n. fem., hen. 

ploaie, n. fem., rain. 

ploatsha, n. fem., plate, slab. 

poala, n. fem., apron. 

poarka, n. fem., sow. 

poarta, n. fem., door. 

podhima, n. fem., boot. 

politic, n. fem., city, large town. 

pomu, n. neut. , Jruit, Jruit tree. 

potu, V. II, be able ; p(u)teare, ptui. 

pramateftu, n. masc, merchant. 

pramatikos, adv., practically. 

pravda, n. fem., beast of burden. 

preftu, n. masc, priest. 

pri, prep., upon, on ; di pri, out of ; pri la, on to. 

primaveara, n. fem., spring. 

primnu, v. I, walk, wander ; primnare, primnai. 

prinde, v. impers., it must, it is fitting ; the only other tense in use 

is the imperfect prindea. 
protii, num. ad]., first. 
pruksinitii, n. masc, envoy. 
prukuk'ie, n. fem., progress, advance. 

prumuveara, n. fem., spring ; dialectic form for primaveara. 
psofii, adj., dead (of animals), 
pudhimate, plur. of podhima. 
puiUu, see pul'u. 
pulimsesku, v. IV, fight ; pulimsire, pulimsii. 


pulishoru, dim. of pul'u. 
pul'u, n, masc, bird ; articulated puillu. 
punte, n. fern., bridge, see pufiye. 
punye, n, fem., bridge, see punte. 
putc, adv., never. 


roaoa, n. fem., dew. 
rugatshune, n. fem., prayer. 

s, abbreviated form for si or sa. 

sa, dialectic form for si. 

sakurafa, n. fem., pack needle. 

samarvi. n. masc, pack saddle. 

sanu, adj., well, healthy. 

sarbatoare, n. fem., holiday , festival. 

sare, n. fem., salt. 

sarka, n. fem., long coat with loose sleeves. 

saturu, V. I, satisfy ; saturare, saturai. 

seara, n. fem., evening. 

sh, abbreviated form for shi or sha. 

sh, third personal reflexive pronoun, singular and plural, and all 

sha, dialectic form for shi. 
shapte, num., seven. 
shasse, num., six. 

shedii, v. II, sit ; shideare, shidzui. 
sheidzatse, num., sixty, 
shi, con]., and, also, eveyi. 
shilivari, n. masc, breeches. 
shoariku, n. masc, mouse. 
shoputii, n. neut., conduit head. 
shtiu, V. IV, know ; shtire, shtii, or shtiui. 
si, conj., that, to ; cf, tra si, ka si. 
si, pron. i-efiexive, third person, sing, and plur. 
siharik'e, n. fem., gift given in return for congratulations. 
sintu, V. lY ,feel ; sintsire, sintsii. 
simvoli, n. fem., agreement, contract. 
singuru, adj., alone. 

skalsesku, v. IV, scratch ; skalsire, skalsii. 
skandura, n. fem., plank, hoard. 
skapii, V. I, escape, get rid of ; skapare, skapai ; also impers. skapa, 

it is done. 
sklavu, adj., slave, prisoner. 


skolii, V. I, get up, raise ; skulare, skulai. 

skotu, V. Ill, take out ; skuteare, skoashu. 

skumbu, adj., dear ; dialectic form for skumpu. 

skumpu, adj., dear. 

slabu, adj., bad. 

smeana, n. fern., drawers. 

soakra, n. fern., mother-in-law. 

sora, n. fern., sister. 

sotsu, n. masc, friend, companion. 

spelii, V. I, wash ; spilare, spilai. 

spindzuru, v. I, hang ; spindzurare, spindzurai. 

spunu, V. Ill, tell, explain ; spnneare, spushu. 

stau, V. irreg., stand ; stare, stetui. 

steaua, n. fem., star. 

stefanii, n. neut., bridal crown. 

sterpu, adj., barren, sterile. 

sti, prep., on, upon. 

stih'ima, n. fem., bet, ivager. 

stran'n, n. neut., garment. 

strunga, n. fem., sheep fold. 

su, pronom. adj. enclitic, his ; fem. sa, her. 

sum, prep., under. 

suma, n. fem., lump of carded wool. 

supra, adv., above. 

surata, n. fem., bridesmaid. 

suratia, for insuratu past part, of insoru. 

susu, adv., above. 

suta, num., a hundred. 

t, abbreviated form for ta, ti, or tu. 
ta, dialectic form for tra. 
taghari, n. fem., bag, small sack. 
ta.h.a,con]., as if. 
talaganii, n. masc, overcoat. 
tal'u, V. I, cut, kill ; tal'are, tal'ai. 
tambare, n. fem., cape of goats' hair. 
tata, n. masc, father. 

teliusesku, v. TV, finish, settle ; teliusire, teliusii. 
tenda, n. fem., rug, blanket. 
teta, n. fem., aunt. 
theam, abbreviation for natheama. 
ti, dialectic form for tra. 

tindu, V. Ill, spread, stretch ; tindeare, teshu or timshu. 
tine, pron., thou. 
tin'ie, n. fem., price, honour. 


tin'isesku, v. IV, honour ; tin'isire, tin'isii. 

toamna, n. fern., autumn. 

tora, adv. , now. 

tra, prep., for. 

tra, si, conj., in order that. 

tragu, V. Ill, draw, drag ; tradzeare, trapshu. 

trama, n. fem., yarn, thread. 

tramvaidzhi, n. masc, tram conductor or driver. 

trana, n. fem., skein. 

trandafiru, n. neut., rose, rose tree. 

iredzSiisQ, num.., thirty. 

trei, num., three ; treil'a, third, the third time. 

treku, V. II, pass by, run, get on ; tritseare, trikui. 

tri, dialectic form of tra. 

tropu, n. neut., custom, manner. 

tru, dialectic form of tu. 

ts, pronom. adj. enclitic, thy. 

ts, abbreviation for tsi, tsa, tsa, gen. and dat, sing, of tine. 

ts, reflexive pronoun, second pers. singular. 

tsanu, V. II, hold, keep ; tsaneare, tsanui. 

tsara, n. fem., earth, soil. 

tsaruha, n. masc, cobbler. 

tsaruh'e, n. fem., out-door shoe. 

tsaya, n, fem. spool. 

tse, see tsi. 

tsea, see atseu. 

tseapa, n. fem., onion. 

tseara, n. fem., candle, taper. 

tsets, for dzatetsi from dzakii, but va tsetsi is for va dutsetsi from 

mi duku. 
tshelniku, n. masc, shepherd, head shepherd. 
tshikrik'e, n. fem., spinning-wheel. 
tshinuse, n. fem., ash. 
tshoariku, n. masc, legging, gaiter. 
tshokotu, n. neut., hammer. 
tshorga, n. fem., rug, mat. 
tshorii, n. neut., /oo^, leg. 
tsi, rel. indecl., ivho, which, what. 
tsi, interrog., who ? which ? what ? 
tsi, pron. gen. and dat. fem. and masc. of tine, 
tsia, contracted form of dzatsia from dzaku, but si tsia is for si 

dutsia from mi dukii. 
tsiketta, n. iem., jacket Jor a girl, t 
tsini, for tsi. 
tsintsi, num., five. 
tsipune, n. fem., coat (for a man), 
tsispradzatse, num., fijteen. 


tsiva, adv. , Clothing, something. 

tu, prep., in, at ; di in, from. 

tu, pronom. adj. enclitic, thy. 

turka, only in phrase a la turka, according to Turkish reckoning or 

tutu, adj, all. 


xi, dialectic form of i (for easte) in certain phrases, usually after ts. 

u, ace. sing. fern, of elii. 

uda, see nuaa. 

umblu, dialectic form of umplu. 

umplu, V. 11,^// ; umpleare, umplui. 

umtii, n. neut., butter. 

unvL, num., one. 

urdu, n. neut., a kind oj cheese. 

ureald'a, n. fem., ear. 

ushe, n. fem., door. 

uspitlik'e, n. iem.,Jriendship. 

uspradzatse, num., eleven. 

uspraying'itsi, num., twenty-one. 

ustura, n. fem., yarn for weaving. 

uvreu, n. masc, Jew. 


va, abbreviated form of va, va or va. 

va, pron. reflexive, second pers. plur. 

va, gen. and dat. plur. of voi. 

va, va, pronom. adj. enclitic, your. 

va, vai, particles by which the future of a verb is found. 

vaka, n. fem., cow. 

vale, n. fem., stream, valley. 

valitshe, n. fem., small stream, small valley, dim. of vale. 

varu, indef. pron., one, some. 

vasil'e, n. masc, king. 

vasilik'esku, adj., royal. 

vasiloan'e, n. fem., queen. 

vatamu, v. I, kill, murder ; vatamare, vatamai. 

vatra, n. fem., hearth. 

vdzira, dialectic form for fudzira from fugu. 

vearde, adj., green. 

vedu, V. II, see ; videare, vidzui. 

versu, V. I, pour, pour out ; versare, versai. 

vilendza, n. fem., rug, blanket. 

vindu, V. II, sell ; vindeare, vindui. 


vinitfi, adj., blue. 

vitsinii, n. masc, neighbour ; fem. vitsina. 

voi, pron., you, plur. of tine. 

voiu, V. II, wish, want, love ; vreare, vrui. 

vreare, n. fem., good-will ; see voiu, 

vrutu, past part, of voiu. 

yatru, n. masc, doctor. 

yermu, n. masc, worm. 

yiftesku, adj., gipsy. 

yig'indz, dialectic form of yifig'itsi. 

yilie, n. fem., glass, tumbler. 

ying'itsi, num., twenty. 

yinu, V. Ill, come ; yineare, vin'u. 

yinu, n. neut., wine. 

yiptu, n. neut., corn, wheat. 

z, dialectic form of s for si or sa. 

z, dialectic form of ts for tsi, tsa or tsa. 

zanate, n. fem., trade. 

zboru, n. neut., word. 

zburasku, v. I, speak, talk ; zburare, zburai. 

zh, dialectic form of sh for shi or sha. 

zhoku, dialectic form dzhoku. 

zhone, dialectic form of dzhone, 

zua, dialectic form of dzua. 

zvaltsa, n. fem., shuttle. 


Abdi Pasha, 24, 25, 188 

Acarnania, i, 5, 206 

Achrida. See Okhridha 

Adrianople, 140, 260, 263 

Aemilius Paulus, 268, 269 

Aeneas Sylvius (Pius II), cited, 265 

Aenos, 259 

Aetolia, 257, 264 ; climate in, 33 

Aghrapha, 103, 163, 168 

Ahuri, the spring and story of, 

Akhillios, St.. fair of, 11, 21, 29 &., 48, 

83, 129, 130 ; church of, Ghrev- 

ena, 28 
Akhladhi, 25 
Akomu, 180 
Albania, Albanians, 9, 10, 147, 213, 

214, 216 
Albanian Vlachs. See Farsherots 
Alexandria, 186 
Alexius, Byzantine emperor, policy 

of, towards Vlachs, 260, 261 
Alexius Comnenus, 259 
Ali Pasha, 24, 150-154, 174, 176, 

181, 185, 187, 192, 205, 209, 

Aliphaklar, 214 
AUi Meria, 176 
Almiros, 3, 46, 209 
Alpokhori, 24 
America, emigration to, 33, 92, 171, 

175. 177. 182, 198, 200, 203, 

Ameru, 185 ; description of, 182 
Amintshu. See Metsovo 
Anaryiri, Ayii, chapels of, Samarina, 

87, 88, 89 ; festival of, 133 
Anchialos, 260 
Andronia, 259 
Andronicus III, Byzantine emperor, 

Angelus. See Isaac and Michael 
Anilion, 183 
Ano-Volos, 176 

Anthimos, bishop of Ghrevena, 87 
Antony, St., day of, 141 
Aous, river, 37, 189, 201, 202, 203 
Apa Spindzurata, waterfall, 45 


Aravandinos, cited, 23, 2,6, 47, 185, 

Armata, 45, 92, 252 ; description of, 
202, 203 

Arslan Bey, defeat of, 148 

Arvanitovlakhi. See Farsherots 

Asan, the revolt and history of, 259- 

Asan, John. See Johannitius II 

Aspropotamos, river, and Vlach dis- 
trict, 189, 207 &., 254 

Athanasius, St., churches of, Baieasa, 
198 ; Muskopol'e, 72 ; Sam- 
arina, 40, 43, 70, 89, 109, 136 ; 
festival of, 134, 141, 189 

Athens, 46, 252 

Australia, 182 

Avdhela, 15, 21, 29, 252, 253 ; de- 
scription, history and trade of, 

Averoff, George, 183 
Avles, former name of Ghrevena, 28 
Avliotis, river, 28 
Avlona, 41, 223 
Aj'ia, 214 

Badraleksi, migration of, 174, 210 

Badzhu, capitan of the Zaghori, 195, 

Baieasa, 189, 191, 201, 252 ; de- 
scription and history of, 195- 

Baietan, 175, 195 

Baldwin, his wars against Johanni- 
tius I, 262, 263 

Bana Luka, 25 

Barbaramu, 146 

Barbarossa, Frederick, refuses Vlach 
aid, 260 

Barovitsa, 220 

Basil, St., festival of, 137 ff. See 
also Year, New 

Basil II, golden bull of, cited, 22 

Beala, 217 

Belgrade, 222 

Belkamen, 210, 213 

Belos, capitan of Metsovo, 24 

Beltsopulos, Suleyman, 26 



Benjamin of Tudela, cited, 258 

Berat, 46, 193, 223 

Beratori. See Peritore 

Bessi, 267 

Biga, 172 

Biklishta, 214 

Biskuki, 218 

Bistritsi, 195 

Bithultsi, 175 

Bitsikopulo, 207 

Bitsovitis, Yeorghakis, 26 

Bitule. See Monastir 

Blatsa, 212 

Blatshola, Yoti, capitan of Zaghori, 
his exploits, 195, ig6 

Boboania, 174 

Boghatsko, 140 

Borilas, king of Vlachs and Bul- 
garians, 263 

Bowen, cited, 186 

Boyadzhi, 216 

Briaza, 165, 198, 252 ; description 
of, 202, 203 

Broti, 174 

Buda-Pest, 214 

Bulgaria, emigration to, 219, 222 ; 
Vlachs in, 5, 221 fi. 

Bulgarian empires, 257 ff. 

influence, 2, 133, 219, 220 ff., 

insurrections, 8, 218 

Bulgarians, 72, 151, 212, 213, 217 ff., 
273 ff. 

Burbusko, Greek masons from, 72 

Burgualtu, 256 

Butkovo, Lake, 221 

Buzhdova, 221 

Cantacuzenus, John, the historian, 

cited, 264 
Cantacuzenus, John, the defeat of, 

259, 260 
Castron-Bouchalistas, 27 
Catalans, in Great Vlachia, 264 
Cedrenus, cited, 257 
Chirol, Sir Valentine, cited, 162, 167 
Chomatianos, Demetrios, archbishop 

of Achrida, 22 
Christmas, 136 ff. 
Chronicle of Epirus. See under 

Chryses, the revolt and fortunes of, 

261, 262 
Cinnamus, cited, 265 
Cipriani, leader of Garibaldians, 22 
Comans, allied with Bulgarians and 

Vlachs, 263 
Commentiolus, the campaign of, 256, 

Comnena, Anna, cited, 259 

Comnenus, Alexius. See Alexius 
Constantine Porphyrogenitus, cited, 

Constantinople, 182, 186, 200 

Dadal'ari, 146, 148 

Dalmatia, 223, 257, 273 

Dances, Vlach, 56 ff. 

Daniel and Gregory, the geography 
of, cited, 216 

Daniel, lexicographer, 216 ; his lexi- 
con, 6 

Dardania, 268, 273 

Davelis, a brigand, 22, 166, 197, 200 

David, larother of Samuel of Bulgaria, 
slain by Vlachs, 257 

Davli, Nikolak'i, capitan of Zaghori, 

195, 196 
Dedheryianni, 176 
Demetrius, St., churches of, Baieasa, 

195 ; Ghrevena, 28 ; day of, 

48, 79, 136 
Demetrius, of Samarina, 152 
Demir Hissar, 221 
Densko, 213, 214 
Dhamasi, 174 

Dhamsis. See Ismail Agha 
Dhelvino, 46 

Dhervenas, Yeoryios, a brigand, 154 
Dhervizhana, 24 
Dhiminitsa, 11 
Dhimos, Deli, capitan of Ghrevena, 

Dhiskata, 11 
Dhispuli, Ghushu al, nicknamed 

Makriyeni, 165, 197 
Dhukas, a brigand, 157, 158 
Dimotika, 222 

Dioclea, the Presbyter of, cited, 265 
Dobrinovo, 191, 200, 201 
Doliani (in Zaghori), 191, 195 
Doliani (near Verria), 211 
Dositheos, cited, 22 
Dragari, 191 
Drama, 200 
Dreshtenikii, 191 
Ducas, John, prince of Great Vlachia, 

Duda, courier of Ali Pasha, 26 
Durazzo, 223 
Dushan, Vlach troops employed 

against, 265 
Dusko, 72 

Dzhimuzhoga, Zisial,i68 
Dzhumaia, 198, 221 

Easter, 141 
Edem Pasha, 169 
Efthimiu, a brigand, 204 
Egri Palanka, 221 



Egypt, 213. See also Alexandria 

Eiiissona, i, 21, 46, 139, 142, 174, 210 

Elbas'^an, 223 

Eleftherokhori, 20 

Elijah, St., churches of, Turia, 180; 

Samarina, 40, 43, 70, 87 ff., 93, 

133 ; festival of , 134, 141, 166 
Eliot, Sir Charles, cited, 98 
Epiphany, 136 ff. 
Epirus, climate in, 33 ; The Chronicle 

of, cited, 184, 185, 209 ; Vlachs 

in, 222, 257, 264 
Europos, river, the modern Xerias, 

Evans, Sir Arthur, cited, 133, 223, 

Exeva, 259 

Fagu Skriptu, 190 

Fandana, La, a spring near Samarina, 

45, 50 
Farsherots, or Albanian Vlachs, 4, 

195, 206, 210, 212, 213, 214, 

216, 217, 223 
Fauriel, cited, 126 
Fezlu, La, 197 
Finlay, cited, 156 
Floka, Steryiu or K'iriu, the story of, 

185, 209 
Floro, or Phlamburari, 191 
Folklore, 4, 14, 16, 178, 180, 202. See 

also Chapters VI and VII 
Frasheri, 223 
Fteri, 2x0 
Furka, 178, 204, 205, 219, 252 

Gabriel (Ghavril), bishop of Ghrevena, 

Games, Vlach, 54 ff. 
Gardhiki. See Gardista 
Gardista, 207, 250 
Garelia, two brothers, brigands, 165, 

166, 197 
Gemellomuntes, 256 
George, St., church of, Ghrevena, 28 ; 

day of, 48, 77, 142 
Gerebina. See Ghrevena 
G'evg'eli, 219 
Ghalaxidhi, 208 
Ghrevena, description and history 

of, 22 ff., 46, 174 
Ghrevian Rakhiotis, 27 
Ghrivas, leader in insurrection of 

1854, 157, 187, 188 
Ghrizhano, 174, 185 
Ghumara, mountain, 37 ; timber on, 

Ghunitsa, ferry at, 13, 14 
Gika, a brigand, 165, i56, 197 
Gipsies, 32 ; musicians called, 58, 181 

G'oni, 174 

Gopesh, 218, 219, 251 

Gorgul'u, mountain, 37 ; timber on, 

45. 70. 71, 75 ; used as place 

of refuge, 146, 148 
Grabovo, 217 
Gramatikova, 212 

Gramos mountain, and Vlach dis- 
trict, 206, 213, 214 
Gramosteani, 206, 249 
Gramosti, 213, 218, 220, 221 
Grebene. See Ghrevena 
Grebenitsi, 191 
Greece — 

Greek character and customs, 

contrasted with Vlach, 49, 51, 

53, 54, 181, 186 
estimates of Vlach population, 

10 ff. 
frontier, advantageous for 

brigandage, 19, 77, 196 ; 

changes in, effect of, 17, 167, 

188, 209 
insurrections, effect of, 155, 159, 

160, 168, 169, 187 ff. 
language, influence of, 2, 230, 

251 ff., 254 
propaganda, 7, 97, 105, 175, 177, 

181, 183, 187, 194, 200, 204. 

See also Hellenism 
Gregory, patriarch of Achrida, 215 
Gregory and Daniel, geography of, 

cited, 216 
Gregory, bishop of Ghrevena, 23 
Gregory, of Muskopol'e, 216 
Greklu, La, 37 ; spring, and story of, 

204, 205 
Gudrumitsa, 44, 89 
Guguleka, 174 

Hadzhi, Yannuli al Miha al, headman 

of Samarina, 155 
Hadzhibira, Leonidha al, a brigand, 

41, 43, 91 ; history of, 160 ff. 
Hadzhik'iria, Dzhoga al, 155, 158, 

Hadzhik'iriu, Zhogu al Lala al, 

secretray of Ali Pasha, 151 
Hadzhimati, 147 
Kaidha, intended as bride for 

Napoleon, 151 
Haliakmon, river, 19, 21, 210 
Halik'i, 207, 250 
Halley's comet, a sign of war, 13 
Hashia, district of, 18, 19 ; Hashiots, 

18, 19, 20, 29, 32, 33 
Hassan Kopatsi, spring of, 149 
Hellenism, 6, 30, 46, 97, 99, 132, 142, 

151, 167, 169, 192, 194, 200 ff., 

216, 218, 221, 224, 266 ff. 



Herodotus, cited, 267 
H'ilimodhi, 72, 75, 93, 151 
Holland, cited, 186 
Hondre, Adham, 88 
Honia, 146 
Hoti, 147 

Hrupishta, 46, 167, 213 
Husseyn Agha, 25 
Hutsha, 147 

Ignatios, patriarch of Achrida, 23, 

Ilino, 217 

Imperatoria. See Peritore 
Innocent III, his policy towards the 

Vlachs, 262, 265 
loasaph, patriarch of Achrida, 216 
Ipek, 219 
Isaac Angelus, Byzantine emperor, 

his policy towards Vlachs and 

Bulgarians, 259, 260 
Isaiah, of Metsovo, 184 
Ismail Agha, or Ismail Dhamsis, his 

exploits, 149 
Istok, 176, 217 
Istria, 223, 226 
Italy, cheese exported to, 78, 186, 

Itrizis, a false coiner, song of, 150 
Ivan, revolt of, 261 

Jews, 193, 194, 212, 218, 221 ; Jewish 
names among Vlachs, 258 

Joannice. See Johannitius I 

Johanizza. See Johannitius I 

Johannitius I, also called Joannice 
or Johanizza, King of the 
Vlachs and Bulgarians, his 
reign, wars and death, 261-263 

Johannitius II, or John Asan, king 
of the Vlachs and Bulgarians, 
his reign, 263, 264 

John, St., festivals of, 130 ff., 140 ; 
monastery of, Muskopol'c, 215 

Joseph, patriarch of Achrida, 215 

Kailar, Koniari Turks from, 72, 211, 

Kainarji, treaty of, 93 
Kalabaka, 17, 46 
Kalarites, description of, 207-209, 

Kalarl'i. See Kalarites. 
Kaldarosha, 180 
Kallikandzari, 137 ff. 
Kamytses, defeat and capture of, 261, 

Kapas, loannis, 151 
Kaphetsis, K., killed by Abdi Pasha, 


Karadashu, 147 
Karadhzova mountains, 219 
Karadzhas, Yeorghakis, a brigand, 

163, 164, 165 
Kardhitsa, 46 
Karkandzal'i, 137 flf. 
Karitsa, 175 
Karpenisi, 103 
Karvuno-Lepenitsa, 16 
Kassandra, mules from, 31 
Kastania, in Phthiotis, 25 
Kastania, in Pindus, 207 
Kastoria, 257 
Kastraki, 17 

Katarah'ia, a brigand, 166, 167 
Katerini, 46, 154, 159, 210 
K'atra Asparta, 38 
K'atra a Buflui, 38 
K'atra N'agra, 37, 72, 145 
Kavala, 200 

Kavalliotis, of Muskopol'e, 216 
Kazani, La, 150 
Kekaumenos, cited, 258, 266 
Kephalovriso, 11 
Kerasova, 148, 149 ; Greek masons 

from, 72 
K'etri, Doaule, 36 
Khatsobasi, 176 
Kipurio, 24, 28, 30, 31 
Kira Kale, 27, 28 
K'iriamii, Miha al, secretary of AH 

Pasha, 151 
Kissavos (Ossa), mountain, 259 
Klisura, 5, 8, 132, 139, 210, 212, 213, 

221, 251 
Koasta, La, 146 
Kodru Mare, 180 
Koinsko, 220 
Kokinoplo, 210 

Kolonia, raiders from, 147, 149 
Konitsa, 37 ; fair of , 84, 136 
Koritsa. See Kortsha 
Kornu, 207, 250 
Koromilia, 176 
Kortsha, 5, 147, 214 
Kosa, Nak'i al, 148 
Kosmas, St., 24, 44, 89 ; tree of, 173 ; 

life and travels of, 193, 194, 

Kozhani, 41, 46, 75 
Krania. See Kornu and Turia 
Krimini, 72 

Krushevo, 8, 139, 218, 222, 250 
Ksirolivadi, 210, 212 
Kumanovo, 221 

Kupatshar, 24, 29 ff., 33, 35, 36, 179 
K'urista, 45, 50, 71, 130, 146 
Kurt Pasha, 24 
Kutsobina, 206 
Kutsokale, 36 



Kutsokhiro, ferry at, 14 
Kutsovlach, meaning of, 2, 3, 9 
Kutsufliani, 185 
Kututringa, Dzima al, 148 

Labanitsa, 30, 179 
Laista. See Laka 
Laka, 149, 191, 222 ; description of, 

199, 200 
Lakii Vinitii, 203 
Lala, Turks from, 28 
Lambridhis, cited, 185, 186, 195, 203, 

204, 207 
Lamia. See Zeitun 
Lapsishta, 29 
Larissa, i, 46, 258 
Latin, its likeness to Vlach, 2 ; use 

of in Balkan peninsula, 266 ff. 
Lavda, 35 

Lazarus, day of, 141 
Leake, cited, 27, 33, 98, 144, 147, 

181, 186, 187, 190, 191, 194, 

207, 208, 214, 215 
Leipzig, fair of, 214 
Leo, patriarch of Achrida, 22 
Leonidha. See Hadzhibira 
Le Quien, cited, 22 
Leshnitsa, 191, 201 
Levareka, 217 

Linotopi, 213, 214, 216, 217, 218 
Lopovo, 221 
Lowell (U.S.A.), 171 
Lucius of Trau, cited, 265, 266 
L'umnitsa, 139, 220 
Lunka, 217, 251 
Lupofantana, 256 
Lupii Spindzuratu, pass of, 149, 157 

Magarova, 218, 219, 222 

Makarios, bishop of Ghrevena, 23 

Makri, of Perivoli, 165, 166 

Makrikhori, 46 

Makrini, 191 

Malakasi, 17, 185, 207, 209, 250, 265 

Manchester (U.S.A.), 171 

Manekas, a brigand, 197 

Manesi, 19 

Marseilles, 186 

Mary, St., churches of, Samarina, 

39, 40, 44, 70, 84 fE., 88, 146 ; 

festivals of, greater, 48, 109, 

135 ; lesser, 48, 109, 136 
Matsuki, 208 
Mavrar.ei, 26 
Mavronoro, 24, 25 ; description of, 

33 ; festival of, 129 ff. 
Meglen, 139, 141, 219, 220, 226 
Mehmed Agha, 156, 157 ; history of, 

25 ff. 
Melenik, 198, 221 

Meletios, bishop of Athens, cited, 28 

Mermishaklu, 43 

Mesolongi, siege of, 26 

Meteora, 17 ; MS. from monastery 

at, cited, 129 
Metsovo, 2, 86, 126, 254 ; description 

and history of, 182-189 
Michael Angelus, despot of Epirus, 

Midhala, of Phili, 27 
Miha, of Samarina, 150 
Milia, river, 182. See also Ameru 
Mitsikeli, mountain, 189 
Moasha, mountain, 37, 44 
Molovishte, 218, 219, 251 
Monastir, 7, 24, 41, 83, 218, 219, 222, 

Morava, 214 
Morlachs, 223, 257, 265 
Morminde, col of, 24, 36, 37, 45, 75 
Moscow, 186 
Mudum Bey, 157 
Mukhtar Agha, 165, 166 
Murghani, river, 17 
Muskopol'e, 5, 6, 72, 218, 219, 221 ; 

description of, 214 ff. 

Naples, 186 

Nashua (U.S.A.), 171 

Neghadhes, 192 ; raid on, 25 

Negovani, 213 

Neokhori, 185 

Neopatras, 264 

Neophytos, bishop of Ghrevena, 23 

Neveska, 5, 132, 139, 210, 213, 221, 


Nevrekop, 198, 221 

New Samarina, 16 

New Zealand, 182 

Niausta, 46 , 211 

Niceta, of Remesiana, 267, 268 

Nicetas, cited, 259, 260 

Nicholas, St., Church of, Ghrevena, 

28 ; day of, 136. See also 

Nikola, Ayiu 
Nicolaidy, cited, 30 
Nigrita, 198 
Nikola, Ayiu, monastery of, near 

Perivoli, 175, 179. See also 

Nicholas, St. 
Nikolitsa, 213, 214, 216, 217, 218, 219 
Nikuta, 146 ; Dzima al, 148 
Nish, 222 
Nizhopoli, 218 
Nkiare, 183 
Nturia, 180 
Nunte, 219, 220 

Odessa, 186 

Okhridha (Achrida), 5, 7, 176, 217, 



251, 257 ; patriarchate of, 1 
7, 22 ; lake of, 217 

Olympus, mountain and Vlach dis- 
trict, 107, 210, 252 

Orloff , revolt instigated by, 24 

Oshini, 139 

Ostrovo, Lake, 210 

Osum, river, 223 

Othrys, mountain, 3 

Ou, mountain, 177 

Fade Mushata, 36, 164 

Padza, 202, 252 

Paganus, 257 

Pagatsa, 166 

Pala, Nak'i, a brigand, 166 

Paleogardhiki, 16 

Paleopoghoni, 207 

Paleo-Samarina, 92 

Paliohori, 191 ; description of, 199, 

Palioseli, description of, 201, 202 
Palita, La, 145 

Pankratios, bishop of Ghrevena, 23 
Pantalonia. See Pende Alonia. 
Papayeoryi, Dzhima al, 155, 158, 

159 ; Miha al, 158 
Papayeoryiu, cited, 107, 125 
Papingu, mountain, 189 ; legend, 

of, 202, 203 
Paraskevi, Ayia, churches of, Alpo- 

khori, 24 ; Ghrevena, 28 ; 

monaster}'- of, Samarina, 90 ff. ; 

festival of, 134. See also 

Vineri, St. 
Paul, St. See Peter, St. 
Pazaiiti, Dhimitrak'i al, 162 
Pelagonia, 262 
Penda, La, 43 
Pende Alonia, 189 
Peneus, river, 13, 14 
Peristeri, mountain, near Metsovo, 

Peristeri, mountain, near Molovishte, 

Peri tore, 190 
Perivoli, 21, 29, 30, 195, 252 ; 

description of, 175-179 
Perlepe, 219. See also Prilapus 
Peshtera, 198 
Peter, St., and St. Paul, chapel of, 

Samarina, 85 ; festival of, 

48, 129. See also Mavronoro 
Peter, revolt and reign of, 260, 261 
Pharsala, 258 
Phili, II, 27 

Philippei, 24, 30, 31, 36, 172 
Philotheos, patriarch of Achrida, 215 
Phlamburari. See Floro 
Phrangadhes, 192 

Pindus, mountain range and Vlach 

district, i, 11, 185, 207 ff., 213, 

221, 252 
Pipilishte, 212 
Pirpiruna, 130 ff. 
Pisoderi, 210, 213 
Pius II. See Aeneas Sylvius 
Platamona, 120 
Pleasa, 4, 210, 214 
Pleshia, 20 

Poghoni, district of, raided, 147 
Politzia. See Pulitshaii 
Poroi, 198, 201 
Potamia, district of, 12, 46 
Pouqueville, cited, 22, 27, 30, 46, 47, 

129, 144, 147, 152, 180, 187, 

208, 209 
Preftu, Yanni al, 148, 149, 151 
Premeti, 223 

Presba, 257 ; lake of, 217 
Preveza, 222 

Prilapus, 262. See also Perlepe 
Priscus, cited, 268 
Prizrend, 219 
Procopius, cited, 256 
Prosakon, 261 
Prosilion, 182 
Pudilius, Vlach leader, 259 
Pulitsa. See Pulitshaii 
Pulitshaii, 190 
Pushan, bridge of, 20 

Ramna, 221 

Raphael, patriarch of Achrida, 215 

Rendina, 169 

Resna, 5, 217 

Rhodope, mountain, Vlachs in, 214, 

221, 249 
Roman colonics in Balkan peninsula, 

268 ff. 
Roumania, emigration to, 151, 200 
Roumanian books on Vlachs, 9 ff. 
estimates of Vlach population, 

language, 2, 7, 226, 237 
(or Nationalist) party among 

Vlachs, 7, 70, 97, 105, 169, 170, 

175, 177, 181, 204 ff., 211, 217, 

propaganda, 7, 181, 191 
Roumanians, origin of, 272 ff. 
Rusium, battle of, 263 
Russia, inlluence of, 24, 93 ; wars 

with Turkey, effects of, 155, 

159. 167. 187. See also 

Kainarji, Moscow, Odessa, 


Sabinus, 257 
Salonica, 7, li 

j, 210, 263 



Samarina, passim 

Samarina, New, 16 

Samuel, of Bulgaria, 157 

Sand Dumetru, 195 

Sardhimiu, 174 

Sardica, 260 

Satrae, 2G7 

Saviour, St., church of, 92, 93, 134. 

See also Transfiguration, fes- 
tival of 
Sekhret, Hajji, court poet of Ali 

Pasha, 192 
Selia, 210, 212 
Selitsa, 212, 214 

Seraphim, bishop of Ghrevena, 23 
Seres, 186, 198, 221, 263 fi. 
Serfije, 24, 84, 210 
Serinu, 182, 183 
Servia, 213, 222 
Seshi, 191 
Sharganei, 35 
Shatishta, 4, 30, 41, 46, 51, 75, 154, 

212, 214 
Shipiska, 216 
Shishani, 212 
Shkraku, Dzhima, 166 ; Yeor^'i, 166 ; 

Zisi, 166 
Shoput al Dabura, 44, 70 
Shoput al Kodru, 145 
Shoput al Papazisi, 43 
Shoput al Sakelariu, 43 
Shoput di la Stamaria, 40 
Sikia, 150 

Simika, a brigand, 165, 166 
Siraku, 191, 250 ; description of, 

Skeptekasas, 256 
Skordhei, La, 37, 75 
Skumbra, Farsherot brigands, 181 
Skurdzha, 149 
Skutina, 92 
Smiksi, 21. 24, 29, 252 ; description 

of, 172, 173, 178, 179 
Sokolis, Spiridhon, cited, 183, 184, 

Sofia, 5, 221, 222 
Spileo, 25, 35 
Sta Vinera, 195 
Stenimachos, 140 
Strabo, cited, 267 
Stratos, 206 
Stropan, 214 
Struga, 217 
Strumnitsa, 261 ff. 
Subeno, 26 
Sufli, 222 

Sula, of Ghrevena, 27 
Suphlari, 217 
Suroveli, 206 
Symeon, bishop of Ghrevena, 23 

Taha, Yanni al, 156, 157 

Takos, of Eurytania, 197 

Taktalasman, 176 

Taron, Vlach chieftain, 264 

Tatar, 16, 46 

Tatar Bazar jik, 222 

Tepeleni, raiders from, 147 

Theodore, St., monastery of, 17 

Theodore, bishop of Ghrevena, 23 

Theophanes, the historian, cited, 257 

Theophanes, bishops of Ghrevena, 23 

Theophylactus, cited, 256, 257 

Thessaly, Vlachsin, i, 209, 258, etc. 

Thomas, despot of Epirus, 184 

Thomas, St., day of, 132 

Thucydides, cited, 267 

Timavos, 11, 12, 46, 84 

Timova, Vlach village, 218 

Timova, Bulgaria, 263 

Tishta, 35 

Toivash, 176, 217 

Totskas, Dhimitrios, a brigand, 24 

Transfiguration, festival of the, 93, 
108, 134. See also Saviour, 

Transilvania, 226 

Triandaphilos, Yerasios, 87 

Trieste, 186 

Trikkala, i, 16, 32, 46, 84, 176, 258 

Tsan'ara, 147 

Tsaritsani, 46 

Tsepelovo, 192 

Tshakalia, 28 

Tshamuria, district in Albania, dance 
called after, 58 

Tsherneshi, 191 

Tshikma, Dimitri, 181 

Tshopa, Zisi al, kills Karadzhas, 163 

Tshoti, 174 

Tshotili, 41, 72, 145 

Tshuka, 72, 145 

Tshutra, Adham, 87, 150, 151 

Tsigharas, loannis, of Vradheto, 151 

Tsintsars, a name for Vlachs, 2 

Tsomanga, of Metsovo, 24 

Turia, 30, 56, 132, 139, 252 ; descrip- 
tion of, 179-181 

Turks, rule of, effects of, 5 ff., 12, 18, 
23 ff., 27, 30, 34, 39, 69 ff., 
170, 180, 187, 195, 197, 205, 
220, 224 ; language of, in- 
fluence of, 2, 99, 229, 230, 232, 

Tuzhi, 35 

Urban, a Vlach, makes cannon at 

siege of Constantinople, 265 
Uskub, 219, 273 

Valakhadhes, 29 ff., 34 



Valea Kalda, 25, 177 

Valea Kama, 44, 75 

Valitshe, river, 41 

Valko, La, 35 

Varna, 260 

Varoshi, 27, 28 

Vartholomeos, bishop of Ghrevena, 

Vasili, companion of Karadzhas, 

Vasilitsa, mountain, 20 
Velemishti, 18 
Veles, 219 
Velestinos, i, 176 
Veli Agha, 26 
Veli Bey, 26 
Veli Pasha, 148 
Velitsa, 208 
Venetiko, river, 20, 34 
Venice, 186, 214 
Verria, 5, 46, 139, 154, 159, 252 ; 

description of, 210-212 
Vienna, 186, 214 
Villehardouin, cited, 262, 263 
Vineri, St., festival of, Perivoli, 176. 

See also Paraskevi, Ayia 
Visiani, plundered by Garelia, 166 
Vlachia, Great, 207, 257, 264 ; Little, 

207, 257, 264, 265 
Vlaho-Klisura. See Klisura 
Vlaho-Livadhi, 210, 221 
Vlakhavas, revolt of, 24, 150 
Vlakhoyianni, 4, 46, 139, 210 
Vodhendzko, 35 
Volos, 41, 46 
Vovusa. See Baieasa 
Vrania, 222 
Vriashteno, 34 

Vudhonitsa, 198 
Vutunoshi, 185 

Weigand, cited, 9, 10, 30, 190, 200, 

206, 207, 214, 220, 221, 250 
Whitsuntide, 142 

Xanthi, mules from, 31 

Xerias, river, the ancient Europos, 1 1 

Xylander, cited, 257 

Yannina, 7, 46, 192, 222 

Year, New, 137 ff. See also Basil, 

St., festival of 
Yennadhios, bishop of Ghrevena, 88 
Yioldhasis, Yeoryios, a brigand, song 

concerning, 165 

Zaburdo, monastery of, 92 ; ikon 

from, 142 
Zaghori, a district in Epirus, 147, 

189 ff., 254 
Zalakostas, a Greek poet, 209 
Zalovo, 31 
Zarkos, 15, 174 
Zeitun (Lamia), 258 
Zhakas, Yeorghakis, Yiannulas and 

Theodhoros, a brigand family, 

their exploits, 24 &,, 156, 157, 

Zhupan, Greek masons from, 72, 175 
Zhurkas, a brigand, exploits of, 160, 

Zighos, pass of, 17, 182, 187 
Zmolku, mountain, 20, 37, 44 ; 

alleged mines on, 144 ; legend 

of, 202, 203 
Zurpapa, legend of, 16 

Printed by Morrison & Gibb Limited, Edinburgh 





Date Due 

;-, 23'^ 






FhB2 2 

3 1974 






Mi 15 t974 


4m 21) 197? 


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JUN 1 


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Library Bureau Cat. No. 1137 


A A 001 396 053 9 


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